Trump administration backs nurse who says employer forced her to perform abortion

The Trump administration is pursuing action against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC), which receives federal funds, after a nurse says her supervisors forced her to participate in an abortion against her will.

Jordan Sekulow, the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) attorney representing the nurse, told "Fox & Friends" that President Trump, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the first president to enforce the federal law, the Church Amendment, passed by Congress in 1973.

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"The Trump administration, President Trump, and Secretary Azar at HHS, is the first administration to actually enforce it against these hospitals, to actually enforce conscience protections so that nurses and doctors and medical professionals aren't forced to perform abortions against their religious or deeply held beliefs," Sekulow said.

On May 9, 2018, the Catholic nurse, who has asked to remain anonymous, filed a conscience and religious discrimination complaint against UVMC, contending they broke the law by forcing her to assist in an elective abortion despite making known her conscience-based objection.

The nurse allegedly thought she was assisting a miscarriage, but was later informed it was an abortion.

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On Wednesday, HHS said its Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is giving UVMC, located in Burlington, Vt., 30 days to change its policies.

Sekulow said UVMC's policy dates back to 2017, when it started to perform elective abortions, or "abortions for abortion's sake," after the former CEO of Planned Parenthood New England came in as a new chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Sekulow says the former Planned Parenthood chairman "definitely has an animus to pro-life nurses, medical professionals, even doctors."

UVMC responded Wednesday saying it has "robust, formal protections that safeguard both our employees' religious, ethical and cultural beliefs, and our patients' rights to access safe and legal abortion."

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The medical center adds they "do not discriminate against any employees for exercising their rights to opt out of procedures to which they object," including "termination of pregnancy."

Sekulow says UVMC is ignoring the nurse's rights by saying, "'If we can accommodate you, we will.' That's not the federal law that was passed by Congress. That's not what HHS enforces...You must accommodate the objector."