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Published: March 19, 2012 9:45 am to Politics News

Pro-life nurse ordered to assist in abortion (Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services refuses to respond)

Cathy DeCarlo

Mount Sinai Hospital in New York ordered Cathy DeCarlo to assist in an abortion for a patient 22 weeks into her pregnancy. A pro-life nurse, DeCarlo had informed the hospital in 2004 that she was unwilling to assist in abortions. And both federal and state law allows health care providers, including nurses, to refuse to assist in abortions.

DeCarlo pleaded with the hospital, which still had six hours to find a replacement nurse. Instead, DeCarlo says the hospital forbade her from seeking a replacement and falsely claimed that the mother could die if DeCarlo failed to follow orders.

Following the incident, the New York Post wrote:

Her [DeCarlo’s] pleas were rejected, and instead she was threatened with career-ending charges of insubordination and patient abandonment, according to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court.

Feeling threatened, [DeCarlo] assisted in the procedure.

She said she later learned that the hospital’s own records deemed the procedure “Category II,” which is not considered immediately life threatening.

That was back in 2009. Now, the Deseret News reports:

The incident at Mt. Sinai violated hospital policy, state law and federal law, yet nearly three years later, DeCarlo remains without a remedy. The hospital shrugged her off. Her case in state courts is still pending. Federal courts held that she lacked a “private right of action” and must rely on HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services]. Two years after acknowledging her complaint, the Office of Civil Rights at HHS has still not responded.

And who is the person in charge at the Department of Health and Human Services? Kathleen Sebelius, the staunch pro-abortion proponent that President Obama appointed in 2009. Coincidence?

  • Oedipa Mossmonn

    Ms. DeCarlo’s case is still in the state courts; why would you expect the HHS to intervene? They’d likely rather see her current case run it’s course.

    In any event, you can really thank decades of corporatist right-wing legal reasoning for Ms. DeCarlo’s lack of standing. Just like in the Ledbetter case or the Walmart case, the very same justices you hope will, one day, overturn Roe or Griswold, are really more interested in rolling back employee rights.

    • Sic Borodin

      Did you read the article?  “Federal courts held that she lacked a ‘private right of action’ and must rely on HHS.”

      Also, you keep using this word “rights.”  I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • Oedipa Mossmonn

        I’ve read more than you, apparently, because if you follow any of the links that Mr. Pauker was kind enough include, you’d know what I was talking about. The Federal courts declined to hear her case, yes, but she also has a case pending in the NY system.

        And, if you don’t think undermining your standing to sue your employer, as the Roberts court has done over and over again, is stripping away a “right”, then I’d love to hear what you think it is.

        • Guest

          There is no need to make this personal. Attack the argument, not the person please.

        • Sic Borodin

          But no one’s talking about federal courts responding.  We’re talking about HHS responding, which they did, but only to acknowledge the case…not to do anything about it.  That, I’m assuming, is KBB’s problem.

          Perhaps you’re talking about FDR rights, including to housing, a living wage, and medical care, among other things.  I’m referring to Jefferson rights: life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.  The FDRs can be taken away because they’re bestowed upon us by men and are therefore not really “rights.”  The Jeffersons cannot be taken away because they come from God (or, if you’re not down with the whole “God” thing, they at least are not oh-so-beneficently gifted to us by men), therefore no man can justifiably take them.

          I’m afraid no one has a “right” to sue his or her employer.  You can make the case that said person is justified in doing so, but it’s not a right.

          • Oedipa Mossmonn

            We’re talking past each other here. I mean HHS probably wants the state-level court case to run its course. Don’t let your antipathy towards HHS prevent you from recognizing how bureaucracies work.

            And I’m not going to get into the weeds debating the differences between divine law and natural law. You’re taking a theological stand, I’m taking a legal one. You’re, thankfully, not the arbiter of what’s considered a right and what is not.

    • Guest

      That’s not the point. The point is, her rights were horribly violated. She was given no CHOICE!

      • Wade Felty

        oh yes her rights! So when you are being operated on, if a doctor asks a nurse to do something for you, and she refuses, it’s her right to say no and refuse to do it. 

        I hope you are OK with that reasoning the next time you need a serious surgery. 

        • Peri-operative nurse

          My religious and moral beliefs tell me that a 22-week old fetus is a human being, no different from a baby that has already been born into the world. I strongly believe that assisting in the abortion of a 22-week old fetus would be the equivalent of assisting in the homicide of a baby. If a doctor asks a nurse to assist in killing a baby, with the permission of the baby’s mother, would you say that that nurse does not have a right to refuse to participate? Telling me that I do not have a right to refuse to assist in elective abortions is no different from telling me that I do not have the right to refuse to participate in what I believe is essentially homicide, and it is a violation of my right to religious freedom.

  • Laurielynn Poole

    Well, I would like to know more of the story.  Was this an elective abortion….or the termination of a pregnancy in which the mother’s life is in danger, i.e. infection of the uterus, preeclampsia, ruptured membranes with imminent delivery.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-ThePimpernel/100003157676276 Joe ThePimpernel

      FTA:

      “She said she later learned that the hospital’s own records deemed the
      procedure “Category II,” which is not considered immediately life
      threatening.”

  • bubbalouwee

    Tell your employer, “Take this job and shove it.  I am not working here no more.”  Love and life come before money. 

  • Wade Felty

    If she can’t do the job, she should quite.