‘An assault on those who are pro-life’: Legal group responds to DOJ dropping conscience complaint

The Catholic Telegraph

Matt Hadro

Washington D.C., Aug 5, 2021 / 11:15 am Members of Congress and a conservative legal group this week criticized the Justice Department for dropping its conscience rights lawsuit against a Vermont hospital.

In December 2020, the Justice Department sued the University of Vermont Medical Center after a nurse there was allegedly coerced into helping with an abortion in 2017, against her stated conscientious objection to doing so. The agency alleged a “pattern” at the hospital of other health care workers being discriminated against for refusing to perform abortions out of religious or moral objections.

On July 30, 2021, however, the agency quietly filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in a federal district court in the case of United States of America v. University of Vermont Medical Center.

Long before the initial lawsuit, the nurse at the center of the case had filed a conscience complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in May 2018. The agency’s civil rights office then ruled in August 2019 that the hospital had violated federal conscience laws, and later referred the case to the Justice Department for enforcement.

An HHS spokesperson told CNA in a statement on Thursday that the agency withdrew its initial referral of the case to the Justice Department for enforcement, following “a detailed evaluation of the underlying legal theory” behind the original referral. The agency further requested that the Justice Department dismiss the case, and also withdrew its own notice of violation issued to the hospital.

“It’s plainly political in nature,” said Matthew Clark, senior counsel for digital advocacy at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), in an interview with CNA on Thursday. The ACLJ had represented the nurse at the center of the case who had alleged she was coerced into helping with an abortion. . . continue reading

Kildare GP linked illness to wearing facemask, High Court told

Kildare Nationalist

A Co Kildare GP who was suspended by the Medical Council after he failed to refer patients for Covid-19 tests is alleged to have told a patient with chest complaints that his symptoms were caused by his facemask, a High Court judgment shows.

Last month Ms Justice Mary Irvine granted an application by the Medical Council to suspend Dr Gerard Waters, a GP at the Whitethorn Clinic in Celbridge, following allegations surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine and adherence to public health measures.

The High Court published its judgment in full on Thursday following a further application by the Medical Council.

The judgment shows Dr Waters refused to administer Covid-19 vaccines on the basis he was a “conscientious objector”, but that he did not take steps to refer patients to other doctors. . . continue reading

Judge in Argentine province declares abortion law unconstitutional

Catholic News Service

Giselle Vargas

San Luis, Argentina, Mar 24, 2021 / 07:19 pm MT (CNA).- A provincial judge in Argentina on Thursday declared the law legalizing elective abortion in the country unconstitutional. The ruling applies to the province, and must be ratified by higher courts.

Judge María Eugenia Bona issued the sentence March 18 in response to a suit filed by former senator Liliana Negre.

Negre had filed for an injunction against San Luis Province to end “the state of uncertainty” caused by the contradiction between articles contained in the abortion law and the Civil and Commercial Code. . . continue reading

Health professionals conscience objection to abortion at risk, court told

Wellington Higher Courts Reporter

A health professionals’ group has gone to court over the right to having a conscientious objection to providing abortion services, without adversely affecting employment.

At the High Court in Wellington on Monday the New Zealand Health Professionals Alliance asked Justice Rebecca Ellis​ to make a declaration that the abortion law was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act.

Lawyer Ian Bassett​ said a change to the law on March 24, 2020, raised the concern that the new law contained a “coercive” element. . . [Full text]

Health practitioners sue Crown over abortion legislation


Rachel Thomas for RNZ

A group of health practitioners who conscientiously object to abortion are in the High Court today, suing the Crown over new legislation.

A new requirement in the Abortion Legislation Act 2020 requires a practitioner who objects to abortion to refer the patient to a doctor who can help them.

The Health Professionals’ Alliance is fighting for a declaration that the new law interferes with the Bill of Rights Act.

Before Justice Rebecca Ellis, plaintiff Ian Bassett argued part of the Abortion Legislation Act 2020 infringes on a health practitioners rights: “Namely the rights to freedom of conscience without interference”. . . [Full text]