A Florida pro-life nurse maintains a health center refused to hire her because she is pro-life. Sara Hellwege has filed a lawsuit over the employer’s decision to end the interview process after reportedly discovering Helwege’s religious views about certain types of birth control and membership in a pro-life organization.
Sara Hellwege was seeking a position as a nurse-midwife at the Tampa Family Health Centers earlier this year. When clinic officials involved in the interview process allegedly asked the Florida nurse about her membership in the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, her eligibility to meet the job description was allegedly called into question. The pro-life medical professional’s group opposes abortion.
Conservative legal group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, is representing nurse Hellwege. The pro-life nurse maintains the decision to reject her for the position based upon her abortion stance and group membership was illegal under state and federal law.
Alliance Defending Freedom senior legal counsel Matt Bowman had this to say about what many have deemed a First Amendment and religious freedom lawsuit:
“No one deserved to suffer discrimination just because they’re pro-life. Federal and state law make it clear that being pro-abortion cannot be a prerequisite for employment, nor can federally funded facilities force nurses to assist with practices that could lead to an abortion.”
The Florida pro-life nurse shared a series of emails between herself and a man identified as Chad L. Lindsey – the human resources director of the Tampa Family Health Centers. In one email the Hellwege wrote, “Yes, I am a member of AAPLOG. Due to religious guidelines, I am able to counsel women regarding all forms of contraception, however cannot RX it unless pathology exist. However have no issue with barrier methods and sterilization.”
All of the email allegedly from Chad Lindsey reportedly indicate that the nurse’s membership in the pro-life group would “serve as a barrier” to employment.
The Tampa Family Health Centers human resources director reportedly wrote this in an email to the pro-life nurse:
“Due to the fact we are a Title X organization and you are a member of AAPLOG, we would be unable to move forward in the interviewing process.”
The Tampa Family Health Centers receives federal funds and therefore must comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.
An excerpt from the pro-life nurse’s lawsuit against the Tampa hospital reads:
“TFHC’s refusal to consider Ms. Hellwege’s application for employment on the basis of her religious beliefs and association with the pro-life group AAPLOG violates multiple federal laws. Florida law shall not require ‘any person to participate in the termination of a pregnancy, nor shall any person be liable for such refusal’ Ms. Hellwege has the right to refuse to prescribe abortifacient contraceptives where such actions violate her religious beliefs or moral convictions.”
What do you think about the Florida hospital’s alleged refusal to hire a pro-life nurse?
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