Despite a court-issued restraining order, a group of nurses who sued a New Jersey hospital for forcing them to assist in abortions say they are still being compelled to participate in the procedures.
The Associated Press is reporting that the same 12 nurses who filed a lawsuit against the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) say they are still being trained and scheduled to assist in the procedures.
“My spiritual conviction tells me, I would not want to kill innocent babies, and not in my wildest dream, as a nurse, as a person, as a Christian, did I ever think that I would be trained to assist with this kind of procedure,” Fe Esperanza Racpan-Vinoya, said at a news conference in front of the hospital.
All but four of the nurses in Racpan-Vinoya’s unit signed onto the lawsuit in which they contend that after making their objections known to the hospital, their concerns were dismissed or ignored. Nurses who refused to participate in the procedures were threatened with termination.
Existing federal law forbids hospitals that receive public funds from discriminating against any employee who refuses to participate in a procedure that violates their religious convictions.
Hospital officials previously said they would temporarily stop requiring the nurses to assist, and a federal judge issued a restraining order against them, but the nurses claim the pressure to assist at abortions is ongoing. According to Racpan-Vinoya, the nurses in her unit are still being required to care for patients who have undergone either first or second trimester abortions.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, who attended the press conference in support of the nurses, said the women had “an air-tight legal case” against the hospital.
“UMDNJ’s coercive anti-conscience policy is not only highly unethical but blatantly illegal,” Smith said. “Federal and state law couldn’t be clearer on this matter.”
A hearing in federal court is scheduled for December 5 in Newark.
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