By Matt Anderson
August 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Alliance Defense Fund recently responded to a brief filed by Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York that seeks to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a Catholic nurse who was forced to participate in the abortion of a 22-week-old unborn child.
On August 10, attorneys for Mt. Sinai Hospital filed a brief claiming that Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, the Catholic nurse forced to participate in an abortion, has no right to sue.
The Alliance Defense Fund, in a suit filed on behalf of Cenzon-DeCarlo, is seeking to prosecute the hospital for violating the "Church Amendment" which "protects the right of conscience of pro-life health care workers employed by recipients of federal Health and Human Services funding."
According to the suit, Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo was forced to participate in the abortion despite her protests and was told by the hospital it was an emergency procedure. Cenzon-DeCarlo later found out the procedure was deemed a "Category II," meaning the circumstances were not life-threatening to the mother.
She was threatened with charges of insubordination and patient abandonment if she did not go along with the abortion.
Subsequently, when she filed a complaint, the hospital cut her over-time hours and tried to force her to sign a document agreeing to take part in abortions in case of emergency.
Matt Bowman, the ADF lawyer on the case, told LSN that when Cenzon-DeCarlo filed the complaint "the hospital not only refused to apologize but said that its compulsion was correct and could happen again."
Since the incident, Mrs. DeCarlo has said that she cannot sleep and has been having nightmares, requiring her to seek the assistance of a physician.
"It felt like a horror film unfolding," said Cenzon-DeCarlo in an interview with the New York Post.
The Church Amendment "provides that no recipient of federal health funds may discriminate in the employment or privileges of its health care personnel because of their religious objection to abortion."
However, according to Mount Sinai Hospital, the Church Amendment "does not grant individual litigants a private right of action."
In the motion to dismiss, attorneys for Mt. Sinai claimed, "There is simply no basis to infer a private right of action under the Church Amendment."
The ADF, though, responded to this brief by filing its own letter with the court. In it, ADF said, "The law contains no exception letting Mt. Sinai compel assistance based on their unbridled judgment that abortion is an 'emergency.' "
"Mount Sinai's actions are a quintessential example of discriminating in employment and privileges on condition that Mrs. DeCarlo violate her objection to abortion."
Further, the ADF directly addressed Mt. Sinai's claim that Cenzon-DeCarlo is not allowed to sue because the Church Amendment does not cover private litigation. The ADF argued that even though the Church Amendment did not directly address private litigation, the absence of such a mention has always been understood to thus allow a private right of action.
"The Church Amendment involves all of the factors that the Supreme Court has used to recognize implied private rights and remedies."
Matt Bowman told LSN, "There are many healthcare personnel who are facing forced participation in abortion all over the country, and they will be driven out of the health field if their right of conscience is not respected."
Commenting on Cenzon-DeCarlo, Bowman said, "Mrs. DeCarlo and other Christian doctors and nurses are in the health field because they want to help promote the lives of their patients, and abortion advocates are manipulating the health industry and government to define killing as required healthcare."
"The law (the Church Amendment) is tailored to protect Mrs. DeCarlo's individual rights. It makes Mt. Sinai hospital's actions plainly illegal. The plain meaning of Congress's language is designed to protect Mrs. DeCarlo from being forced to assist in late-term abortion. The only way to deny that is really to deny the statute all together."
ADF is seeking an injunction against the hospital to ensure that it does not attempt to cut Cenzon-DeCarlo's hours during the lawsuit, or force her to participate in any more abortions. Furthermore, they are also suing for mental damages to Mrs. DeCarlo and arguing that Mt. Sinai should not receive any more federal funds under the Church Amendment.
Mr. Bowman commented, "We did ask the judge to include an order forcing Mt. Sinai to repay some of the tax dollars it wrongfully took when it promised not to force employees to assist in abortion. We're hoping that the court's order will include that recuperation to deter other hospitals and universities from compelling assistance in abortion."
See LifeSiteNews earlier coverage of this story.
NY Catholic Nurse Sues Hospital after Forced to Participate in Late- Term Abortion
NY Catholic Nurse Forced To Participate in Abortion Describes Ordeal