Hospital cited for violating conscience rights
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 8/28/19, 01:36 pm
A hospital in Burlington, Vt., violated federal regulations by forcing a nurse to participate in an abortion, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. The University of Vermont Medical Center knew of the nurse’s conscience-based objections to abortion but scheduled her to help with one anyway and didn’t tell her about it until she arrived in the procedure room, according to HHS. At that point, she feared she could lose her job or even her nursing license if she didn’t do what the doctors said.
What consequences will the hospital face? HHS ordered the medical center to revise its policies so it doesn’t have to put objecting nurses in that position again. If the hospital voluntarily complies, nothing else will happen. But if HHS isn’t satisfied with the response, it could withhold future grant money from the hospital, which received $1.6 million in a recent three-year funding period.
Dig deeper: Read the HHS description of how the hospital treated the nurse and evidence it happened again with other staff.
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