Request by Louisiana Hospital for Summary Judgment against Pro-Life Nurse “Denied”: State Supreme Co

By Hilary White

COVINGTON, Louisiana, ( - The case of a pro-life nurse in Louisiana will go to trial after four years of legal dispute. Nurse Toni Lemly contests being demoted in 2005 from her job at a Covington hospital for refusing to dispense the abortifacient ‘morning after’ abortion pill, Plan B. With a single-word refusal, "Denied," the Louisiana State Supreme Court refused to grant a request by the hospital to give a summary judgment against Lemly.

In 2005, attorneys with the public interest law firm the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed suit against the St. Tammany Parish Hospital (STPH) on behalf of Lemly, contesting that the hospital’s actions violate the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law.

Brian Arabie, a Lake Charles attorney who is allied with the ADF, said "The hospital acted unlawfully when it refused to make a reasonable accommodation for Ms. Lemly and instead terminated her fulltime position."

Lemly, a nurse with 23 years experience, had informed the hospital that she could not dispense the drug, that is known to in some cases cause an early term abortion, because of her religious beliefs. The hospital responded by reducing her from full-time to part-time staff, with a reduction in Lemly’s income and loss of employee benefits.

A brief by the ADF also said that "The hospital declined several reasonable suggestions made by Lemly, a nurse for 23 years, that would have enabled the facility to continue administering the pill while allowing her to abstain from dispensing it herself."

Read related coverage:

Louisiana Nurse Demoted for Not Distributing ‘Morning After’ Abortion Pill

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