Washington, DC – Yesterday, Americans United for Life filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of leading medical organizations defending a New York nurse’s freedom to object to the participation in abortion for reasons of conscience.
Mailee Smith, Staff Counsel at Americans United for Life, stated, “Freedom of conscience—and the freedom not to be forced into participating in an activity against one’s religious or moral convictions—is a fundamental right that has been affirmed in this nation for over 200 years. Health care professionals simply cannot and should not be forced to participate in abortion or other procedures to which they object on the basis of conscience.”
The plaintiff in the case, Catherina Lorena Cenzon-DeCarlo, was a nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, where she was forced to participate in an abortion and later brought suit against the hospital alleging that the hospital violated the Church Amendment by discriminating against her for objecting to participation in abortion. In January, a lower federal court dismissed her case, finding that the Church Amendment does not provide for a private, individual cause of action.
AUL filed the amicus brief on behalf of the National Association of Prolife Nurses, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Physicians for Life, Christian Medical & Dental Associations, and the Catholic Medical Association. Together, these groups represent over 19,000 health care professionals across the nation whose freedom of conscience will be implicated if facilities like Mt. Sinai Hospital are allowed to force participation in abortion and other controversial procedures without regard to their employees’ religious, moral, or conscientious convictions.
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For more information on the importance of rights of conscience protections, see AUL’s Primer on Protecting Healthcare Rights of Conscience
The amicus brief is available here.