DURHAM, North Carolina, November 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic nurse is suing Duke University Hospital, claiming that the university discriminated against her religious and pro-life beliefs by requiring her to assist in abortions.
Sara T. Pedro was told during her employee orientation that Duke University Hospital provides no exceptions to employees in its Emergency Department who don’t want to participate in abortions. The lawsuit, filed by The Thomas More Law Center on Pedro's behalf, says that Duke’s Emergency Department performs “a large number of abortions.”
The lawsuit claims that Pedro faced retaliation and discrimination after she made a written request to be exempt from the pro-abortion policy.
Duke wouldn’t let her advance from training to regular duty. The university then “issued her a written warning for vague and unsubstantiated reasons, and then placed her on administrative leave when she attempted to formally dispute the warning,” according to the Thomas More lawyers.
“This case illustrates the unfortunate dangers faced today by individuals who seek to remain faithful to their religious beliefs in the workplace,” said Tyler Brooks, the Thomas More Law Center attorney handling the case.
“With this lawsuit, however, we intend to show that even very large employers must respect the civil rights of their Christian employees,” he said.
The Thomas More Law Center says Duke violated state and federal laws.
“Because of her Catholic faith, [Pedro] objects to assisting in abortions, dispensing birth control and contraceptives, and receiving as well as administering vaccines,” the lawsuit says.
“Duke subjected her to a degrading series of actions designed to punish and retaliate against her for engaging in federally-protected activity,” it continues, noting it’s been more than 10 months since Pedro submitted her second request for religious accommodation.
Duke hasn’t responded or “otherwise provided an explanation as to how the request presented an undue hardship.”
Under the federal law civil rights law “Title VII, an employer is required to reasonably accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs and religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship,” the lawyers explained in their lawsuit on behalf of the pro-life nurse.
Duke’s discrimination and retaliation against Pedro were committed with “the intent of forcing her out of her job with Defendant Duke,” the lawsuit argues.
Pedro attends daily Mass and prays the rosary for an end to abortion, the lawsuit says.
“Until recently being evicted from her home due to an inability to pay her rent, she kept a miraculous image of the Blessed Mother on her wall above a home shrine she made alongside the American flag presented to her father at his retirement from the National Guard,” it continues.
After she graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University and took her nursing boards in New York, Pedro went to daily Mass and prayed to God that she would pass the exam.
Inside the church that day, “she promised God that, if she passed her boards, she would serve Him as a nurse and always strive to be faithful to His teachings,” the lawsuit explains.
Pedro passed and went on to work at NYU Langone Medical Center and then the Burn ICU at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. In New York, she also trained to be a birth doula.
Pedro was never once disciplined by an employer during her tenure in New York.
The lawsuit highlights what it means to be a Christian who faithfully follows the 5th Commandment against murder, because abortion deliberately ends the life of a tiny, innocent human being.