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NEWARK, N.J., November 3, 2011 ( – A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Thursday that prohibits a New Jersey hospital from forcing any of 12 nurses that sued the facility to participate in training or services related to abortions.

The order, which the hospital agreed to, is in effect until the court decides whether to issue any additional order at a Nov. 18 hearing.

The 12 nurses, represented by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys, filed suit Monday against the hospital, which is run by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.


Prior to the court order, two of the nurses had been scheduled to participate this Friday in training that would include surgical abortions.

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“Pro-life nurses shouldn’t be forced to assist or train in services related to abortions. Federal and state law both prohibit this,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman.

“These 12 nurses have encountered threats to their jobs at this hospital ever since a policy change required them to participate in the abortion cases regardless of their religious and moral objections.”

Bowman said it is “disturbing” that the hospital “may fight to continue violating laws that clearly protect conscience rights.”

Federal law prohibits hospitals that receive certain federal funds from forcing employees to participate in abortions. UMDNJ receives approximately $60 million in federal health funds annually.

As well, New Jersey law states, “No person shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion or sterilization.”

In September, UMDNJ began telling Same Day Surgery Unit nurses that they must assist abortion cases. According to the lawsuit, the hospital imposed the new policy in October and repeatedly threatened that the nurses must assist abortions or be terminated.

When one nurse objected to assisting abortion cases due to her religious beliefs, a supervisor reportedly responded that UMDNJ has “no regard for religious beliefs” of nurses who object to participating.