Today in ‘You can’t make this sh*t up’ because no one would believe you’

A nurse-midwife whose religious beliefs prevent her from recommending contraception, except in the case of a patient needing the medication for non-contraceptive purposes, has sued after not being hired by a family planning organisation who is funded to provide contraception. Also here and here from the group defending the nurse-midwife. I don’t know much about the US legal system but this is the legal doc they have posted.

Sara Hellwege, a nurse in Tampa, Fla., applied for a job at Tampa Family Health Centers in May 2014. The organization receives federal Title X family planning funds, which means that it must provide women contraception and other family planning services. But Hellwege is a member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and told health center staff that she would not be willing to prescribe birth control if she were hired for the job.

“Due to religious guidelines, I am able to counsel women regarding all forms of contraception,” Hellwege wrote in an email to the health center’s direct of human relations , “however, cannot [prescribe] it unless pathology exists.”

This is not The Onion. It should be.

Categories: gender & feminism, health, Life, medicine, Politics, religion, social justice

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4 replies

  1. This is the new strategy of antichoice groups. Sue to create religious exemptions that require organizations accepting public funds to hire them despite their refusal to perform fundamental job duties — this so that they can influence patients with antichoice ideals and rhetoric –or sue for discrimination. Either way they get what they want, they can get into organizations and undermine, or force them to drain their funds paying for legal representation, in hopes of bankrupting them and closing them down.

  2. Y’know, if I, as an unemployed person on the dole, went and interviewed for a job, and told them “no, I’m not willing to perform part of the duties here; it clashes with my beliefs”, not only would I not get the fscking job, I would also probably be dinged by Centrelink for applying for work I wasn’t willing to do. I would certainly not be entitled to sue the employer for deciding I “wasn’t a good culture fit” and expect to get a job out of it.

  3. This seems to be a particularly American problem, because our courts have broadly interpreted our constitutional guarantee to freely exercise our chosen religions to mean that others are required in some cases to accommodate us in doing so.

    • Amadi, that seems right to me. Other jurisdictions have ruled that faith-based accommodations are limited to not penalising workers for timeouts for ritual obligations where the worker is willing to make time up otherwise eg praying 4 times a day, Sabbath starting at sunset on a Friday, holy days outside the dominant culture’s mandated holidays (which usually works out well for businesses because workers from the non-dominant culture can cover the holy days of the dominant culture – everybody wins). Nebulous “religious beliefs” don’t cut it in most other jurisdictions – it has to be a fundamental attendance/observation obligation.

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