Nurse Gives Conscience Debate a Shot in the Arm
For a glimpse of what the future holds without conscience protections, look no further than Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Five years ago, when Catherina Lorena Cenzon-DeCarlo was hired as a nurse, she specifically told her superiors that she refused to participate in abortions because they violate her religious beliefs.
Two months ago, Cenzon-DeCarlo was called to assist on a “D&C,” a procedure that removes the remains of a miscarriage from the womb. When she reported to the operating room, she learned that hospital officials had assigned her to assist in aborting a living 22-week-old unborn child. According to the doctor in charge, the mother had preeclampsia, a risky–but treatable–condition. Rather than proceed with a magnesium therapy known to help the condition, the doctor declared the woman’s life at risk and proceeded with an abortion. Catherina said she was not permitted to get a substitute for the procedure and was forced to participate “under protest” in a procedure that needlessly ended the baby’s life.
Outraged, Cenzon-DeCarlo filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court the violation of her conscience rights. While the case is underway, it does paint a grim picture of what’s in store for America’s health care workers if the President refuses to include common-sense exemptions for health care workers in his plan. In the debate over conscience protections, some liberals have pushed for a loophole to cover “emergencies.” If they succeed, a doctor’s word would take precedence over the moral convictions of someone like Catherina. Much like the “health exceptions” in abortion law, what constitutes an “emergency” would be entirely subjective. This is a dangerous loophole that, if misapplied, could be used to force the participation of health care workers in a wide range of procedures that they find objectionable.
Additional Resources Washington Times: N.Y. nurse sues after forced to aid abortion