Health Care

Hospital forced nurse to participate in abortion — United States agency

Hospital forced nurse to participate in abortion — United States agency”

Faced with the prospect of losing her job, Severino said, "she relented and has been traumatised ever since".

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Wednesday it has put the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) on notice after several nurses there reported being forced to help with abortions against their moral objections.

The hospital was "not fully cooperative" with the HHS investigation, and "contested" both the investigation and the allegations, but the agency gathered "more than sufficient evidence" in the case, Severino said.

"When the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the Office of Civil Rights was established at HHS previous year, it showed the Trump administration is serious about investigating and addressing conscience violations", she said.

Mr. Severino said so-called "Church Amendments" from the 1970s protect medical workers who refuse to participate in abortions or sterilizations on religious or moral grounds.

Severino alleged the complainant had previously registered her objections to performing abortions, and was under the impression the procedure would be in response to a miscarriage. But once trapped inside the OR she discovered that it was, in fact, an elective abortion and that this had been known all along by her superiors who then callously refused to relieve her.

The Trump administration has sought to expand and enforce protections of religious freedom.

Setting up the Health and Human Services "conscience office" past year was among a series of administration actions to address longstanding priorities of religious and social conservatives, who are key to Trump's 2020 re-election campaign.

Severino told reporters Wednesday this nurse's story was the "quintessential violation" of conscience.

"This should never happen in America". The Office of Civil Rights said it had spoken to other health care personnel at the hospital who, since at least the spring of 2017, have been "intentionally, unnecessarily, and knowingly" scheduled by the hospital to help with elective abortions despite their objections.

Federal laws protecting the rights of health workers who object to participating in abortions and some other procedures have been on the books for years. If they fail to cooperate, they lose their federal funding.

But the hospital disputed those findings and criticized the office for a blindsiding public announcement that made a national example of UVM Medical Center in the Trump administration's effort to expand protections for religious objectors.

A new rule banning federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions has led Planned Parenthood and other providers to leave the government program that provides for the funding.

The OCR investigation also found the hospital's "Conflict of Care" policy also violates the Church Amendment "because the policy admits to circumstances where UVMMC can and will force staff - on pain of adverse action or discipline - to participate in abortions against their moral or religious objections". "We asked to receive their advice on how those policies and practices could be improved consistent with our obligation to our patients".

"OCR instead chose to proceed with the announcement it issued today", Mack said. Severino told reporters it was a dilation and curettage procedure, but would not say whether there were any other medical issues at play, or how far along the pregnancy was. "But we do believe that our policy is correct and just".

This action by HHS is an enormous step forward toward the full protection of conscience rights of all those in the health care field who recognize the sanctity of all human life. "And so we do stand by our policy".

In a statement, the hospital said it was disappointed by the action of the civil rights office.

"I don't know of any cases where we've compelled someone to do something against their will", he adds.



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