by Steven Ertelt
June 9, 2005
Urbana, IL (LifeNews.com) — A nurse has filed a lawsuit against Eastern Illinois University saying the college refused to promote her to a higher job at the student health center because of her pro-life views and refusal to dispense the morning after pill, which sometimes causes an abortion.
Andrea Nead had been employed as a part-time nurse at EIU’s Health Services Department since 2000. When a full-time position became available in October 2004, Nead applied for the promotion.
EIU administrators asked Nead a number of questions during the interview, including whether she would be willing to dispense the Plan B drugs. Nead told the interviewer that the morning-after pill violates her religious beliefs because she believes it is a form of abortion.
The complaint contends that the interviewer told Nead that another applicant — who eventually was hired for the position — did not oppose dispensing the morning after pill.
Nead’s lawsuit, filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, complains that the decision not to hire Nead was based on her religious beliefs regarding the morality of dispensing the morning after pill.
"It is not only wrong to deny an applicant a position based on her religious beliefs, it is a violation of the law," explains senior ACLJ legal counsel Frances Manion.
EIU spokeswoman Vicki Woodard, told the Associated Press that "the reason Andrea Nead was not hired was unrelated to dispensing the morning-after pill.”
Manion pointed out that this is the latest incident of employment discrimination against health care professionals in Illinois, following an order by Governor Rod Blagojevich ordering all state pharmacists to dispense any legal drug, including those that cause abortions.
"There appears to be a systematic pattern in place in the state of Illinois designed to punish pro-life health care professionals who merely want to fulfill their professional obligations without violating their religious beliefs," Manion said.
"This hostility toward pro-life health care professionals is very troubling and we are confident that the court will uphold the constitutional rights of our client in this case," Manion added.
The ACLJ today filed suit for Nead in the U.S. District Court in Urbana, Illinois.
The suit contends the denying Nead the promotion violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The ACLJ has also filed one of three lawsuits seeking to overturn Blagojevich’s order and represents six pharmacists in the case.
The pro-life law firm previously represented an employee in DeKalb County, Illinois who was denied a promotion because she expressed reluctance to participate in abortion counseling at the health center where she worked.
The case was resolved after an agreement was reached and the county paid $40,000 to settle the employee’s claims.