A pro-life Illinois nurse who was fired after refusing to refer mothers for abortions won her case in court this week.
WTVO 17 News reports a judge agreed Wednesday that Sandra Mendoza Rojas, of Rockford, should not have been fired from the Winnebago County Health Clinic for living out her pro-life beliefs.
Rojas worked as a pediatric nurse for 18 years before she was fired in 2015, according to the report. She said she refused to comply with a new requirement that nurses be trained to help women obtain abortion drugs and refer women to abortion facilities.
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The Illinois nurse is a devout Catholic who 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.”
Here’s more from the report:
In a lawsuit, Rojas claimed Winnebago County Health Department director Dr. Sandra Martell violated the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience and the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Acts.
A judge agreed with Rojas on Wednesday.
She can now petition the court to recover her attorney fees and litigation expenses from the County.
Her case is one of a growing number of complaints by medical professionals about religious freedom and conscience violations. Cathy DeCarlo, an operating room nurse from New York, is another.
“I’ll never forget that day as I watched in horror as the doctor dismembered and removed the baby’s bloody limbs and I had to account for all the pieces,” DeCarlo said previously, sobbing at the memory. “I still have nightmares about that day.”
In August, President Joe Biden’s administration received sharp criticism from pro-life and religious leaders after it dropped a lawsuit defending another pro-life nurse from Vermont who was forced to participate in an abortion. The nurse said other medical workers at the University of Vermont Medical Center tricked her into it, telling her that she would be helping with a miscarriage.
Since the 1970s, it has been illegal for public authorities to force individuals or entities to perform or assist in the abortion process. The Church Amendment, federal law enacted in the 1970s after the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings, prohibits hospitals funded by the Public Health Service Act from discriminating against doctors and nurses who refuse to participate in abortion. The Church Amendment protects abortion-related conscience rights of both individuals and institutions.
However, pro-life lawmakers have warned that the law is not being enforced, and nurses like Rojas and DeCarlo have had their livelihoods threatened for refusing to help end unborn babies’ lives in abortions.