A Catholic nurse who was forced against her will to assist in a late-term abortion procedure has filed a lawsuit against New York's Mount Sinai Hospital.
With the legal help of Alliance Defense Fund, Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo filed the complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Tuesday.
Federal law states that hospitals that receive tax dollars cannot under any circumstances force employees to participate in abortion procedures.
"Pro-life nurses shouldn't be forced to assist in abortions against their beliefs," said ADF legal counsel Matt Bowman, in a statement Wednesday. "Requiring a devout, Catholic nurse to participate in a late-term abortion in order to remain employed is illegal, unethical, and violates her rights of conscience."
He added, "[T]his nurse's objections fell on deaf ears."
A late term abortion occurs in the 7th, 8th, and 9th months of pregnancy when the preborn baby is nearly fully formed.
According to ADF, hospital administrators told Cenzon-DeCarlo that there was an "emergency" late-term abortion procedure that she must assist with or else face disciplinary action. She had repeatedly objected to being a part of the abortion process and the hospital reportedly has known of her religious objections to abortions for many years.
Moreover, documents indicate that the procedure was not an "emergency" and was not classified as such either.
Emergencies would be classified as "Category I" for "patients requiring immediate surgical intervention for life or limb threatening conditions." This abortion procedure was classified as "Category II," which needed to take place within six hours, providing enough time to find a different nurse to assist.
Cenzon-DeCarlo said based on her observations there was no indication that the abortion was a medical emergency, and that the patient's condition did not even rise to a Category II.
The ADF legal team has requested a preliminary injunction that would order the hospital to respect Cenzon-DeCarlo's religious objection against assisting in abortions and refrain from retaliation against her as the case moves forward.
Founded in 1994, ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys who defend the rights of people to live according to their faith.