Right of Conscience: State / City Actions

 2006 Pro-Life Nurse's Refusal to Do Abortions Leads to Chicago Hospital Policy Protecting Conscience Rights. She challenged the hospital's policy of having its staff participate in abortions; this opened the eyes of her co-workers, who never knew they had a choice not to participate. The ordeal points to the reasons behind a Congressional provision that is currently tied up in courts. At the age of 48, Mary Bauer decided to change careers. She obtained a nursing degree and went to work at a Chicago, IL hospital in its labor and delivery unit. On her first day of work, Bauer arrived excited and looking forward to her new job. However, after an initial orientation, hospital staff said her first assignment would be assisting in the abortion of a 22 week-old unborn child with Down syndrome. In an interview Bauer described her ordeal. "I just told them, ‘I can’t take that patient. I’m very pro-life. I cannot participate in any way, shape or form. I just can’t do it, so I need an alternate assignment," Bauer said. Fearful that she would lose her position, Bauer investigated Illinois law and discovered two statues protecting health-care workers who object to participating in medical procedures on moral grounds. She told her co-workers at the hospital they had the legal right to refuse to assist in abortions. They said, ‘We’ve never had a choice. We always thought this was part of our job and we had to do it.' The hospital adopted an official policy that protected staff from dismissal if they refused to participate in procedures on moral grounds. The unborn child with Down...