The Biden Administration's Department of Justice is under fire for dropping a lawsuit last Friday against a Vermont hospital that forced a Catholic nurse to assist an abortion.
As per the Christian Headlines, the Department of Justice is being criticized by advocates of religious liberty for refusing to defend a Catholic nurse against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC). The DOJ released its notice with no reason for dismissing the lawsuit that was filed in 2020.
The Department of Health and Human Services filed a notice of violation against the University's hospital in 2019 for violating the rights of those who object against abortion based on their conscience and religious beliefs.
The HHS' Office for Civil Rights received the complaint from the nurse who was kept anonymous in 2018 regarding the University hospital's violation of the law on Church Amendments. The nurse said she feared losing her job along with her license and so she was forced to comply with the hospital's directives despite bearing the pain as well of terminating the life of the child.
The HHS in 2019, whose director at that time was Roger Severino, came out with a news release that said the Vermont Medical Center "forced the nurse complainant to assist in an abortion against the nurse's religious or moral objection."
The HHS also said in its 2019 news release that the nurse has been repeatedly objecting "for many years" against the UVMMC to procedures involving abortion and due to it she was actually included in the list of objectors. However, for that one time she was forced to assist in an abortion, she was only told about it when she walked into the room where the procedure was already being done by a doctor who knew very well that she would object to it. This the HHS was able to arrive at this conclusion after conducting interviews with "multiple witnesses."
"The nurse was not told the procedure was an abortion until the nurse walked into the room, when the doctor--knowing the nurse objected to assisting in abortions--told the nurse, 'Don't hate me.' The nurse again objected, and other staff were present who could have taken the nurse's place, but the nurse was required to assist with the abortion anyway," the HHS highlighted.
In an interview with National Review, Severino expressed disappointment for the DOJ's decision on the nurse's lawsuit. Severino raised that the department is conveying to those in the medical field that the government would not be able to provide them their much sought-for "hope" should they be forced to do something against their conscience.
"Without so much as a slap on the wrist, this was a clear favor to abortion special interests and a spit in the face of not only the victim in the case, but the many medical professionals who have suffered conscience violations through the years and will continue to suffer, but now with little hope of recourse from their government," Severino said.
"Even the Obama administration entered into a corrective action agreement with a hospital that had forced a nurse to assist in an abortion, but not Biden," he stressed. "We now know, if there was ever any doubt, that Biden and Becerra's first loyalty is not to their proclaimed Catholic faith or to the law, but to abortion, abortion, and more abortion."
The National Review said that the Church Amendments was unanimously approved by Congress to address Roe v. Wade. It added that HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Biden betrayed medical professionals who were forced to conduct abortions as a result of the DOJ decision. The media outlet pointed out Becerra's commitment being put in question by lawmakers due to this.
"For those unaware, Becerra may be the most notorious violator of conscience laws in recent years. He even lost a Supreme Court case with his name on it, NIFLA v. Becerra, after he tried to coerce pro-life pregnancy-resource centers into violating their consciences by forcing them to refer mothers in search of life-affirming alternatives to free abortion services. Becerra was twice found in violation of conscience-protection laws by HHS's Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, but now he is in charge of the entire agency," the National Review pointed out.