By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

NEW YORK, July 28, 2009 ( – Catherina Cenzon-DeCarlo, a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital who was forced to participate in the abortion of a late-term unborn child under the threat of losing her job and nursing license, has given a candid interview to the New York Post. In the interview she describes the ordeal she endured when she was told by hospital administrators to choose between her religious convictions and her job.

“It felt like a horror film unfolding,” said Cenzon-DeCarlo, 35, who claims she has had gruesome nightmares and hasn't been able to sleep since the May 24 incident.

“I couldn't believe that this could happen,” Cenzon-DeCarlo told the Post, describing how she was threatened with charges of insubordination and patient abandonment, which could result in the loss of her job and nursing license, if she did not participate in the abortion. “I felt violated and betrayed,” she recalled.

Hospital administrators told the nurse that the scheduled abortion was an “emergency” and that the woman would die if she did not assist.

However, Cenzon-DeCarlo says that she saw no indications that the abortion was a medical emergency while in the operating room, and she later learned that the hospital's own records deemed the procedure “Category II,” meaning that the situation is not considered immediately life threatening.

Despite repeated and emotional objections, Cenzon-DeCarlo was ultimately forced to participate in the child's death, and was later pressured to sign an agreement that she would assist in all abortions doctors deemed an “emergency.” 

The Post reports that Cenzon-DeCarlo, a native of the Philippines, moved to New York in 2001 and started at Mount Sinai as an operating-room nurse in 2004. During her job interview, an administrator asked Cenzon-DeCarlo whether she'd be willing to participate in abortions. She flatly said no.

The nurse said she put her beliefs in writing.

“I emigrated to this country in the belief that here religious freedom is sacred,” Cenzon-DeCarlo said. “Doctors and nurses shouldn't be forced to abandon their beliefs and participate in abortion in order to keep their jobs.”

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorneys filed a lawsuit last week against Mount Sinai Hospital on behalf of Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, who is asking the court to order the hospital to pay unspecified damages, restore her shifts and respect her objections to abortion.

The suit also seeks to force Mount Sinai to give up the federal funding it receives, the Post report states, because it failed to uphold a federal rule protecting employees who have moral objections to controversial procedures.

To express your opinion to Mount Sinai Hospital:
Kenneth L. Davis, President and CEO
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, New York 10029
Phone: (212) 241-6500
Toll-Free: 1-800-637-4624

See previous LSN coverage:

NY Catholic Nurse Sues Hospital after Forced to Participate in Late- Term Abortion