Nurse’s stand on abortion secures conscience clause from US Veterans Affairs

A nurse has won religious protections on abortion for all U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees.

Stephanie Carter filed a lawsuit against the VA after it authorised abortions for veterans and their beneficiaries at its facilities last year without allowing staff to opt out from participating in abortions on religious grounds.

First Liberty Institute, the law firm representing Carter, has now requested the suit be dismissed following the implementation of a nationwide religious exemption policy by the VA.

‘Image of God’

Carter’s legal team stated in court papers submitted in December that she “cannot perform, prescribe, or counsel for abortion services because of her sincerely held religious beliefs that unborn babies are created in the image of God and should be protected”.

“Carter initially requested a religious accommodation from participating in abortion services at the VA on two occasions in October but was told by her supervisor that there was no process in place for the VA to consider her requests.”

Welcoming the change, Danielle Runyan – senior counsel for First Liberty – said: “Stephanie Carter is living proudly by her faith and should not be forced to choose between her faith and her career.

“Because of her courage, every VA employee in the nation can now seek a religious accommodation from participating in a procedure they find unconscionable.”

‘Strong opposition’

Last year, 13 Senators and 26 members of the House of Representatives wrote to the Department of Veterans Affairs expressing their “strong opposition” to the VA’s rollout of abortion ‘health care’.

In the letter, they stated: “Any such purported governmental interest in veterans obtaining abortions cannot justify substantially burdening a health care provider’s religious beliefs.”

The VA employs more than 371,000 healthcare professionals and support staff.

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