By Guy Page
The attorney representing the University of Vermont Medical Center nurse coerced into performing an abortion told Fox and Friends Thursday that four other UVMMC nurses also have filed similar complaints with U.S. Health and Human Services.
As Headliners reported Wednesday, federal civil rights officials yesterday announced that Vermont’s largest hospital deceptively, illegally coerced a pro-life nurse into participating with an abortion.
Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) said at the 2:30 mark on the Fox & Friends segment: “This is not the only case. We now have four other nurses who are filing similar complaints with HHS.”
Sekulow praised the Trump administration for becoming the first presidential administration since Roe V. Wade to intervene on behalf of pro-life health care workers.
“This law has been on the books since 1973,” Sekulow said. “This is the first time, this is the first administration to enforce this against hospitals, to actually enforce conscience protection, so that nurses and doctors and medical professionals are not forced to perform abortions. Republicans didn’t enforce it. Democrats didn’t enforce it. President Trump and Secretary [of Health and Human Services Alex] Azar finally did.”
Sekulow noted the hospital decided to perform elective abortions shortly after the former CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (Ali Stickney) was named chairman of the board of UVMMC. “Surprise, surprise,” Sekulow commented.
A June 11 federal lawsuit filed by PPNNE against Azar and the OCR would strike down the “refusal of care rule” because it would supposedly limit access to abortions. The lawsuit shows striking disregard for religious conscience, saying it should be accommodated “only when they do not impose undue hardship on the employer’s operations.”
The financial cost of Planned Parenthood’s disregard for both religious conscience and federal funding is starting to add up:
Potential Loss of HHS funding for Vermont’s biggest hospital: UVMMC could lose an estimated $1.6 million in federal funds if it fails to remedy its discriminatory policies, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Agency of Health and Human Services said yesterday. If so, the loss of these funds will be absorbed by Vermont health care recipients, who are already looking at double-digit health care insurance increases as well as a proposed increase in taxpayer-funded Medicaid insurance.
Title X Funding: Last week, the state of Vermont announced it will use taxpayer funds to completely cover the $759,000 of Title X funding Planned Parenthood of New England abandoned by insisting it will continue to refer patients for abortions.
Legal fees and staff expenses (undetermined but growing): As the U.S. government and possibly a separate civil suit seek First Amendment justice for these nurses, UVMMC must respond. Assuming UVMMC goes on the defensive, its senior staff will be occupied and its lawyers will be enriched — all at Vermont health care customers’ expense.
Meanwhile, employees continue to struggle with working at a hospital whose leaders have repurposed it as an abortion clinic. A UVMMC nurse told Headliners yesterday by email, “many [nurses] have objected but MANY are afraid to do so.” She wants hospital administrators to clarify and strengthen its conscientious objector policy and make it easier for COs to opt out. This change is important and not only for abortion, she said: “Next on the list — many of the same staff are/will object to working transgender procedures.”
A proposed change in Vermont health insurance regulations will, if given final approval as expected, allow for Medicaid to pay for transgender surgeries regardless of the patient’s age, Headliners reported.
Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.