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NJ Nurses Challenge Hospital Abortion Policy in Court

A dozen New Jersey nurses filed a lawsuit in federal court against the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey alleging that it broke state and national law by requiring that the nurses provide pre- and post- operative care for abortion patients, despite the nurses’ objections on religious or moral grounds. However, the hospital contends that it did not violate the law because it did not require the nurses to directly participate in the abortion procedure.

The hospital indicated in its statement that “no nurse is compelled to have direct involvement in, and/or attendance in the room at the time of, a procedure to which she or he objects based on his/her cultural values, ethics and/or religious beliefs. The university is in full compliance with applicable state and federal laws.”

Jennifer Dalven deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, stated, “These are health care professionals who work at a publicly funded hospital saying that they do not want to do the job they were hired to do, including caring for a woman before or after surgery. People have a right to their beliefs, but that shouldn’t give them the right to discriminate against patients who need medical care.”

National Partnership for Women and Families 11/28/11; Washington Post 11/27/11

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