An Illinois nurse filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week after she said her employer tried to force her to help women get abortions.
Sandra (Mendoza) Rojas, of Rockford, Illinois, worked as a pediatric nurse for 18 years at the Winnebago County Health Department, the Rockford Star reports. In 2015, she resigned from her job rather than comply with a new requirement that nurses be trained to help women obtain abortion drugs and refer women to abortion facilities, according to the report.
Rojas said she is a devout Catholic, and she believes unborn babies deserve a right to life.
“Nursing is more than just a job, it is a noble calling to protect life and do no harm,” she said previously. “There is something terribly wrong when you are forced out of your job on account of your commitment to protect life.”
In 2016, Rojas also filed a lawsuit against her former employer, alleging a violation of conscience rights.
Here’s more from a previous report published at LifeNews:
In 2015, the County’s new Public Health Administrator, Dr. Sandra Martell, merged the pediatric clinic with women’s health services and mandated that all nurses be trained to provide abortion referrals and participate in the provision of abortifacients like Plan B.
When Ms. Mendoza informed Dr. Martell and the administration of her conscientious objections to participating in any way in the provision of abortions, Dr. Martell gave Ms. Mendoza two weeks to either quit or accept a demotion to a temporary job as a food inspector. Mendoza refused the demotion and was forced to resign in July 2015. …
Mendoza’s attorney, Noel Sterett, a partner at Mauck & Baker, LLC, in Chicago, says, “Ms. Mendoza has spent her life serving children and protecting life. People disagree on whether abortions end human lives, but I’d hope we can all agree that pro-life doctors and nurses should not be forced out of employment on account of their faith or commitment to protecting life.”
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According to the local news, Rojas is seeking compensation and other damages from the 2016 lawsuit in her complaint.
Attorneys representing the Winnebago health department argued that she should not receive any compensation because she was offered another nursing job but chose to resign instead.
Her case is one of a growing number of complaints by medical professionals about violations of conscience. Cathy DeCarlo, an operating room nurse from New York, is another.
Late last year, pro-life U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, called on federal lawmakers to support a bill to solidify conscience protections for medical professionals like DeCarlo and Rojas.
The Conscience Protection Act would “end discrimination against people, [insurance] plans and providers for choosing not to be involved in abortion,” according to a statement from Smith.
Since the 1970s, it has been illegal for public authorities to force individuals or entities to perform or assist in the abortion process; but Smith said the law is not enforced, and nurses like Rojas and DeCarlo have had their livelihoods threatened for trying to avoid performing abortions.
Lending bipartisan support, pro-life U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, a Democrat from Illinois, also defended people’s rights to live by their beliefs.
“If we cannot uphold these freedoms, this is really a great detriment to our nation. We have to live up to our principles,” Lipinski said.