A British midwife student won a legal victory against the University of Nottingham after it threatened to expel her because of her pro-life beliefs.
The Samford Crimson reports Julia Rynkiewicz, 25, received an apology and won a settlement from the university this fall.
Rynkiewicz is just one of many pro-life medical workers who are facing discrimination simply for believing that unborn babies are patients who deserve care, too.
Earlier this year, Rynkiewicz said she was banned temporarily from finishing her hospital training after her instructors questioned her “fitness to practice,” according to The Telegraph. Their reason was her pro-life Catholic beliefs and her leadership as president of the Nottingham Students for Life.
She faced an investigation that lasted four months and was threatened with expulsion before the university finally determined that she could continue her education, the Crimson reports.
Rynkiewicz said she filed the lawsuit so that no other student would be unfairly punished for their beliefs.
“Putting my life on hold because of an unjust investigation was really difficult, both mentally and emotionally,” she said. “The settlement demonstrates that the university’s treatment of me was wrong, and while I’m happy to move on, I hope this means that no other student will have to experience what I have.”
She said she had to delay her studies and postpone graduation as a result of the investigation. She said she also did not qualify for financial aid while she was temporarily banned from completing her hospital training.
“What happened to me risks creating a fear among students to discuss their values and beliefs, but university should be the place where you are invited to do just that,” Rynkiewicz said.
In a statement, the university said it is considering how to better respond to such situations in the future. It also emphasized that it supports the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
“The university and Students’ Union supports the rights of all students to bodily autonomy and access to safe, legal abortion services, which is the position in law,” the university said. “Universities should be spaces to debate, discuss and disagree points of view, and with more than 200 student societies, covering the full range of beliefs and perspectives, we are confident this is the case at Nottingham.”
Pro-life medical professionals in the United States, UK and other parts of the world are increasingly concerned about conscience protection rights.
Dr. Regina Frost, a New York OB-GYN, recently wrote a column for The Federalist describing how her state leaders, Planned Parenthood and others are fighting against her religious freedom via a lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that protects medical professionals’ conscience rights.
“If New York and Planned Parenthood succeed in blocking conscience protections for medical professionals, I may be forced to either violate my conscience or leave the medical profession,” Frost wrote.
Last year, a Vermont nurse said her employer forced her to help abort an unborn baby even though it knew she objected. The nurse said a doctor tricked her into helping end the baby’s life, telling her it was a miscarriage.
And in South Africa, a medical student was prohibited from practicing medicine for two years while he was prosecuted for unprofessional conduct. The charges stemmed from him telling a pregnant woman that an unborn baby is a living human being and an abortion kills a human life. A medical board finally dropped the charges in October.
These concerning situations demonstrate the importance of conscience protection laws. Without them, medical students can be prevented from practicing, medical workers can lose their jobs and, worse, be prosecuted just for telling the truth.