A NY Nurse Forced to do the Unthinkable

Inside the Issues with Alan Sears

August 18, 2009
Reproduced with permission

Alliance Defense Fund

The administrators at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital knew at least three  things, that Sunday morning, when they ordered senior nurse Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo,  at the last minute, to assist in a late-term abortion:

  1. They knew that Cathy, who is a devoted follower of Christ and a Catholic, was on long-term record with the hospital as opposing abortion for religious reasons.
  2. They knew that, despite what some of them were telling Cathy, the medical situation was not a true emergency, and the mother’s life was not at stake.
  3. They knew that, under federal law, any hospital receiving federal health funds – as Mount Sinai does – cannot force its employees to assist in abortion procedures under any circumstances.

Despite all that, the administrators told Cathy that if she didn’t assist in the  procedure, she would face disciplinary action – likely including termination and  loss of her professional license.

“Pro-life nurses shouldn’t be forced to assist in abortions against their  beliefs,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, who is representing Cathy in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New  York. “Requiring a devout, Catholic nurse to participate in a late-term abortion  in order to remain employed is illegal, unethical, and violates her rights of  conscience. Federal law requires that employers who receive funding from tax  dollars must not compel employees to violate their sincerely held religious  beliefs, but this nurse’s objections fell on deaf ears.”

ADF attorneys are also requesting a preliminary injunction that would order the hospital to honor  Cenzon-DeCarlo’s religious objection against assisting in abortion and refrain  from retaliation against her while the case moves forward. New York ADF-allied  attorneys Joseph Ruta and Piero Tozzi are serving as local counsel in the case.

“Chasing away workers from the health care field is disastrous health care  policy,” said Bowman. “An individual’s conscience is likely what brought them to  the health care field. Denying or coercing their conscience will likely drive  them right out.”

Cathy’s case is a clear example of an employer violating an employee’s right of  conscience – and violations like this are happening all over the country  everyday to people of sincere religious faith who work in the medical  profession: not only nurses, but doctors and pharmacists as well.  Please be in  prayer for those who are trying to blend their medical skills with a Christ-like  compassion and godly reverence for human life – and in particular prayer for our  attorneys as they represent Cathy in this high profile and potentially  nation-shaping case.

Contact: ADF MEDIA RELATIONS  (480) 444-0020


ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

One thought on “A NY Nurse Forced to do the Unthinkable

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.