GUEST POST: Imagine being persecuted for refusing to violate your conscience in the workplace. This is exactly what Stephanie Carter, an Army veteran and nurse practitioner at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center in Texas, may be facing as a pro-life medical professional.
Recently, the Biden Administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) mandated through the “Reproductive Health Services” rule that VA medical facilities must commit abortions without any exceptions including medical staff who do not support abortion. Carter is a Christian who believes that life begins at conception and should be protected through every stage of development in the womb.
As a powerhouse for life, Carter did not just disagree with this rule but went a step further and sued the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the Biden Administration, for fighting for the conscience rights of all medical staff. The lawsuit states:
“Ms. Carter cannot perform, prescribe, or counsel for abortions, or work in a facility that performs abortion services for reasons other than to save the life of the mother because, in her view, unborn babies are created in the image of God and should be protected.”
The lawsuit alleges that the VA abortion mandate mandate violates Carter’s rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and the First Amendment, as well as violating the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that conscience rights are protections applied to “health care providers who refuse on religious or moral grounds to perform or assist in the performance of certain health care services….One may file a complaint if they were required to participate in or were discriminated against for refusing to participate in specific medical procedures and related training and research activities, were coerced into performing procedures that are against your religious or moral beliefs, or were discriminated against for refusing to provide health care items or services for the purpose of causing, or assisting in causing, the death of an individual, such as by assisted suicide or euthanasia.”
Carter stated, “I asked my supervisor for a religious accommodation; but each time, I was told that the VA could not accept my religious accommodation request because it had no process in place for doing so.”
Gavin Oxley, the founder of Future Medical Professionals for Life and Students for Life of America (SFLA) Virginia’s Regional Coordinator, said:
“The attack on conscience rights of practitioners of Hippocratic medicine is simply a violation of Constitutional rights and an attempt to force real health care providers to bow to the culture of death being pushed by the current administration. Conscience rights, whether religious or secular, do not force your ethics on another person but rather protect you from having to violate your own ethics. Nurses like Stephanie Carter can and should continue the fight to protect their conscience.”
Carter has had six abortions, four of which were from rape and her traumatic experience contributes to her pro-life convictions. She told the Washington Examiner, “I don’t want to do any abortions at all. I don’t want to prescribe or do any of that. It goes against everything that I believe. So, I can’t do it.” She does not wish to see other women, other veterans, be manipulated by the abortion industry into thinking that they can only be successful if they end the life of their child.
Additionally, abortion is illegal in Texas so Carter is facing possible prosecution. The lawsuit says, “Ms. Carter could face a felony conviction, steep civil penalties, and loss of her nursing license if she engages in the breadth of abortion services required by the Rule.”
Stay tuned to the SFLA blog to hear updates on Carter’s case.
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