The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has rescinded a threat to discipline a nurse under its employ who refused to dispense the “morning after” pill.
As reported by WorldNetDaily, Cynthia Day, a nurse at a clinic in New Orleans, said last week she had repeatedly told her supervisors that she can’t dispense the pill because she believes life is sacred and begins at fertilization, and that doing so would violate her deeply held religious beliefs. She indicated her employer had threatened to fire her because of her refusal to dispense the pregnancy-ending medication.
The American Center for Law and Justice, a public-interest law firm that represents Day, announced yesterday that her employer has agreed to stop asking the woman to dispense the drug and has rescinded proposed disciplinary action.
The move comes less than one week after the ACLJ filed formal complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights contending that the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is discriminating against Day.
“We’re delighted that the religious beliefs of our client will now be accommodated in the workplace,” said Stuart J. Roth, senior counsel of the ACLJ. “From the beginning, our client just wanted to do her job without violating her conscience and her religious beliefs. Unfortunately, it took formal action on our behalf and publicity about the case before the state agreed to do what it should have done all along – stop threatening and criticizing our client. …”
According to the ACLJ, as the complaints were being filed last week, Day received a disciplinary letter from her employer – a letter proposing a five-day suspension without pay for insubordination.
Then, within days of filing the complaints, Day received a letter from Madeline W. McAndrew, assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals. In the letter, dated Oct. 25, McAndrew said the department “is rescinding the proposed action and will accommodate your request based on religious and moral grounds.” McAndrew told Day that she instructed officials to “immediately remove you from any duties that require you to discuss or provide the emergency contraception pill.” At the same time, McAndrew stated that a listing of “reassignment opportunities” will be made available to Day “for future permanent duty assignments to accommodate your request. …”
“We plan to withdraw the complaints filed with the EEOC and with the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights when our client receives the accommodation,” said Roth. “We will continue to work with our client to ensure that her religious beliefs are accommodated and monitor the ongoing employment status very closely to make sure she is not discriminated against in the workplace.”