A Christian nurse practitioner has filed a lawsuit against CVS after one of its clinics illegally fired her for not distributing abortion pills to customers.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Virginia nurse practitioner filed suit Wednesday in state court against MinuteClinic, a division of the CVS drugstore chain, after the health clinic illegally fired her for declining to provide abortion-inducing drugs to customers in keeping with her religious beliefs.
Paige Casey, who has been a licensed nurse practitioner in northern Virginia since 2018, follows the teaching of her Catholic faith, which prohibits her from providing, prescribing, or facilitating the use of any drug, device, or surgical procedure that can cause an abortion. Casey notes that some drugs like Plan B and Ella can cause very early abortions.
For three and a half years, CVS respected Casey’s religious beliefs by allowing her to decline to provide or facilitate the use of abortion-inducing drugs. Casey’s religious objection never posed an issue to coworkers, patients, or supervisors, and just two days before she was fired, she received a merit-based pay increase.
But in January, CVS informed her that they would no longer accommodate her faith and fired her a few months later—directly violating Virginia’s Conscience Clause.
“Corporations like CVS cannot defy the law by firing professionals who want to work consistently with their faith,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life. “Paige had a spotless record of caring for patients, yet CVS decided to abruptly fire her, solely because of her religious belief that life begins at conception. Virginia law protects the freedom of everyone to work without fear of being fired for their religious beliefs prohibiting participation in abortion.”
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Virginia’s Conscience Clause prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees who decline to participate in providing abortifacients because of their religious or ethical beliefs. ADF attorneys are suing CVS on Casey’s behalf to prevent the company from forcing health care professionals to violate their faith in order to keep their jobs.
This is not the first instance of a pro-life medical professional having their conscience rights abrogated.
A pro-life Illinois nurse who was fired after refusing to refer mothers for abortions won her case in court in February and has been awarded $374,000 in damages and attorney fees.
A local court in Illinois ruled 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.
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.