Members of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday accused U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Human Services chief Xavier Becerra of violating federal laws by dropping a Department of Justice lawsuit against a hospital that forced a Christian nurse to help with an abortion – even though she was supposed to be exempt from that duty.
The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained a copy of the letter and posted it online.
The letter points out the hospital, the University of Vermont Medical Center, faced claims it “knowingly, willfully, and repeatedly” violated federal conscience-protection laws.
The nurse cited in the lawsuit, and others, were protected by the Church Amendments, which were passed unanimously by Congress and have been part of federal protections since 1973, the letter said.
They prohibit HHS grant recipients from discriminating against healthcare personnel who “refused to perform or assist in … an abortion.”
The government “rightfully” sued the hospital in 2020 but then under President Biden’s leadership, the DOJ dismissed the lawsuit.
“You withdraw this lawsuit knowing that there are no additional legal remedies for victims of discrimination in this case,” they Republican senators wrote to the two Biden appointees.
“Your handling of this case is a profound miscarriage of justice and a rejection of your commitment to enforce federal conscience laws for Americans of all religious beliefs and creeds – and especially for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who object to abortion. Your actions signal to employers all around the country that they don’t need to comply with the law because your agencies will not enforce it,” they wrote.
The senators demanded a full explanation of the Democrats’ pro-abortion actions, and noted that testimony given to Congress just this year from the two affirmed “multiple times to follow federal law as it relates to the issues of abortion, religious liberty, and conscience protection.”
The new actions, then, “call into question your honesty before Congress and willingness to enforce the law in all other matters.”
It was signed by Sens. Tom Cotton, James Lankford, Marsha Blackburn, John Boozman, Mike Braun, Kevin Cramer, Ted Cruz, Steve Daines, Bill Hagerty, Josh Hawley and dozens more.
The American Center for Law and Justice reported when Biden took the action, he was delivering proof that he’s “at war” with conscience rights.
The ACLJ has been monitoring and working on the case involving the nurse identified as “Rachel” for an extended period. She was ordered by the University of Vermont Medical Center to help with an abortion, even though she was on a list of nurses exempt from that duty.
The ACLJ now is reporting, “At the time this lawsuit was filed, we were pleased to report that – at long last – the Church Amendments finally had teeth, and we anxiously awaited the vindication of Rachel and her pro-life colleagues’ rights.”
But, the report said, “This week, the Biden Administration has taken the unprecedented step of having the Department of Justice voluntarily dismiss its own case without obtaining anything in return. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. The DOJ basically told UVMMC: ‘Yes, we spent two years investigating you, interviewed a dozen witnesses, found you in flagrant violation of federal law, threatened you with all manner of legal mayhem, sued you with great fanfare, and now – oh, never mind. Have a nice day!'”
The ACLJ reported, “Of course, we all know what really happened here. The previous administration took seriously its role to protect conscience rights. But the Biden Administration is so beholden to its extreme ‘abortion-is-awesome!’ wing that they can’t even bring themselves to recognize that conscience rights exist when it comes to abortion. Remember when the Department of Justice, under Bill Barr, was being daily lambasted for allowing itself to be ‘politicized?’ That was, what, about six months ago? Yet here we have a Department of Justice willing to completely abandon a lawsuit that it filed only eight months ago (!) without getting any concession whatsoever from the party it sued, and for no other reason than that there’s a new name at the top of the Department’s letterhead? ‘Politicized’ much?”
The case involved an operating room nurse who was listed among those who had moral and religious objections to abortion, and so were exempt from those duties.
However, Rachel reported being assigned to the duty, and was refused when she asked for permission to opt out.
She ended up dropping her nursing career there and moving to another part of the country.
A complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, and an investigation that the hospital officials had inflicted similar damage on other nurses, the OCR’s Notice of Violation was issued.
Then came a DOJ lawsuit.
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