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NY Court rejects 'conscience' lawsuit by nurse ordered to assist at abortion

Catholic World News - November 24, 2010

A Catholic nurse has no standing to sue a hospital that forced her to assist at a late-term abortion, a New York court has ruled.

Catherine DeCarlo had brought suit against Mt. Sinai Hospital after she was required to assist at an abortion in May 2009. DeCarlo disputes the hospital administration’s claim that the abortion was an “emergency” procedure, and says that the event caused her severe emotional trauma. She reports that she was threatened with severe reprisals-- leading to the probable loss of her nursing credentials-- if she refused to assist in the procedure.

The court ruled that the federal "Church amendment," which was enacted to protect health-care workers from being forced to take actions they found morally objectionable, does not allow for an individual's right to sue.

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  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Nov. 28, 2010 10:01 PM ET USA

    This amendment is merely a "bridge". I cannot remember the author of the quote, nor am I entirely sure of the exact wording, but there is little protection afforded to people who sleep under bridges. . .

  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Nov. 27, 2010 10:39 PM ET USA

    A personal view: The court's decision (link at LifeSite) has Catherine Cenzon-DeCarlo showing that she does indeed have the individual right to sue her employer because Section 214(A) of Public Law 93-348 (disallows discrimination about a person's "religious beliefs or moral convictions") falls under the heading "Individual Rights". The judges however determined that the PL 93-348 "Individual Rights" text is only "evidence of an intent to confer individual rights, not an explicit conferral..."

  • Posted by: Duns Scotus - Nov. 24, 2010 11:54 PM ET USA

    The amendment establishes a health care worker's right not to participate in procedures he/she believes to be immoral but it “does not allow for an individual’s right to sue?” Then, what, pray tell, avenue of redress does the health care worker have if his/her right is violated? Get a gun and shoot the hospital administrator? Either the judge is screwy, or Congress enacted a screwy law. Frankly, I find both possibilities equally plausible.

  • Posted by: non-faithfulcatholicschools7869 - Nov. 24, 2010 8:19 PM ET USA

    If there is a good Catholic Doctor out there that needs a nurse, this one would definitely fit the bill. The fact that the Court is being activist again doesn't surprise me. If the Federal Law doesn't protect her, shouldn't her 'union' stand up for her? After all, that what unions are supposed to aren't they? Guess they really are only money grubbers instead of helping members.

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