ROCKFORD, Illinois (LifeSiteNews) — Winnebago County must pay $370,000 in attorney fees to the team representing Catholic pediatric nurse Sandra Rojas, who refused to refer patients for contraceptives or abortions.
The Illinois county fired her in 2015. The 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Illinois ruled in November that the county violated the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act when it fired her. She had worked for the county for 18 years.
Now the county must pay $374,104.60 to Rojas’ legal team from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and its allied attorneys as part of a February 16 decision from Judge Eugene Doherty. The court previously awarded Rojas $2,500 in damages.
ADF applauded the decision. “Medical professionals should never be forced to engage in or promote activities that violate their beliefs or convictions,” senior counsel Kevin Theriot said in a statement. “Sandra served as a nurse according to her conscience and religion — a right for medical providers that is protected under Illinois and federal law.”
The fee shows there is a financial punishment for the violation of someone’s conscience rights, Theriot said. “The court’s fee award sends a clear message that health care workers are free to practice medicine in a manner consistent with their conscience and religious beliefs, and there will be a steep penalty if the government fails to respect that legally protected freedom.”
ADF allied attorney Noel Sterett echoed the same sentiments. “Health care professionals should not be required to violate their conscience to keep their jobs,” he said. “We hope the outcome of this case will encourage other public and private health care employers to respect their employees’ rights of conscience.”
The issue arose when the county’s new health director merged health clinics, meaning that a nurse could have pediatric clients, refugee clients and also women’s health patients.
Dr. Sandra Martell, the county’s public health director, said she did not know she violated Rojas’ rights when she offered to move her to another job, according to the November 2021 decision. Martell offered Rojas two jobs that would not work — one as a part-time food inspector that would not utilize her nurse training.
PETITION UPDATE (2/24/22)
VICTORY - Trudeau revokes Emergencies Act
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that his government will revoke the Emergencies Act (EA) despite it being approved by the House of Commons on Monday.
Trudeau had said at the beginning of the week that the EA was still needed because his government was worried about further freedom-oriented activity from Canadian truckers and patriots.
The drastic change in governance comes as the Canadian Senate has spent the last two days debating whether to approve the EA when a national emergency is not present.
Conservative Senator Leo Housakos has led the charge in the Senate, and he gave an impassioned speech today against using the EA under the circumstances.
“This country is deeply divided like I’ve never seen,” Housakos said. “It’s moments like this when the executive branch of government and every prime minister has an obligation to put the nations interests above the interests of himself, his party, and partisan politics.”
Thank you for signing this petition which urged world leaders to condemn Trudeau's use of the extraordinary powers in the Emergencies Act to suppress the Charter Rights of peaceful Canadians.
Please read the latest article from LifeSiteNews about Trudeau's about face: 'BREAKING: Trudeau gov’t dropping Emergencies Act early after pressure from Senate'
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, is using police-state tactics to attempt to suppress the civil rights of the Truckers' Freedom Convoy protesters, those brave men and women who have called for an end to the mandates and a return to freedom.
This past Tuesday, Trudeau took the outrageous step of invoking the Emergencies Act (EA) in his ongoing battle against the truckers (and freedom, in general), and has officially moved to FREEZE the bank accounts of participating protesters.
And, in the latest dramatic development, police - some in riot gear, others on horseback - have started to move in, to attempt to disperse what has been a peaceful, democratic protest.
This kind of authoritarian police-state action cannot go uncondemned.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks world leaders to CONDEMN these strong-arm tactics and urge Trudeau and his government to use restraint and allow the peaceful protests to continue.*
The EA, which replaced the War Measures Act in 1988, permits the federal government to take "special temporary measures to ensure safety and security during national emergencies," which the law defines as "an urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature" that either "seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it" or "seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada."
But, of course, the truckers' nationwide protests have not in any sense risen to such a level that anyone's life or safety have been endangered!
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks world leaders to CONDEMN these strong-arm tactics and urge Trudeau and his government to use restraint and allow the peaceful protests to continue.
Trudeau's politically-motivated use of the EA, therefore, seems nothing more than an effort to violate the rights of protesters, and, for all intents and purposes, impose "martial law" as a means to quash the civil liberties of people he sees as political opposition, but who are, in reality, just normal, freedom-loving Canadians who want their freedoms back.
Indeed, Trudeau is now using tyrannical, authoritarian-style tactics to silence dissenters, and mercilessly attack the Charter rights of Canadians who are using their freedom of expression to protest his unjust war against citizens' medical autonomy.
Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition which asks world leaders to CONDEMN these strong-arm tactics and urge Trudeau and his government to use restraint and allow the peaceful protests to continue.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'Trudeau uses Emergencies Act to freeze private bank accounts in latest attack on Freedom Convoy': https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trudeau-uses-emergencies-act-to-freeze-private-bank-accounts-in-latest-attack-on-freedom-convoy/
'Separating fact from fiction: Here’s what Trudeau can and cannot do under the Emergencies Act': https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/separating-fact-from-fiction-heres-what-trudeau-can-and-cannot-do-under-the-emergencies-act/
'Everything you need to know about Trudeau’s decision to invoke the ‘Emergencies Act’': https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/everything-you-need-to-know-about-trudeaus-decision-to-invoke-the-emergencies-act/
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**Photo Credit: Darryl Barton/Shutterstock
The other job would not be legally possible, according to the court decision, because Rojas would be working at a nursing home under her son. It would violate an anti-nepotism law.
Rojas said while working at a nurse after the merger of clinics she would avoid any patient’s charts that wanted assistance with an abortion or birth control. The county clinic remained busy and Rojas said none of the other nurses complained about the arrangement and it cost no additional money.
Winnebago County attorney Lafakeria Vaughn did not respond to an email request for comment on Monday.