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Pro-Life Nurse-Midwife Who Won’t Prescribe the Pill Sues Family Planning Center for Not Hiring Her

Posted by on Jul. 21, 2014 at 6:25 PM
  • 7 Replies

Pro-Life Nurse-Midwife Who Won’t Prescribe the Pill Sues Family Planning Center for Not Hiring Her

 
Sara Hellwege claims that her religious freedom was violated when she didn't get a job that would require her to prescribe the hormonal birth control she refuses to prescribe.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Is “religious freedom” about being free to practice your faith, or just a generic cover story for any and all attempts to try to foist your beliefs on others? In this era of Hobby Lobby vs. Burwell, it’s understandable that many on the right have decided it’s the latter and are eager to start testing the limits of how much leverage the expansive new definition of “religious freedom” gives them to meddle with the private contraception choices of others. Next on the docket: Attempting to force family planning centers to hire nurse-midwives who refuse to let patients plan their families, all in the name of “religious freedom.”

Sara Hellwege is a nurse-midwife in Tampa, Florida, who opposes the use of some of the most effective and female-controlled forms of contraception, such as the birth control pill. Despite that position, Hellwege applied for a job with the Tampa Family Health Centers. When asked by the human resources director about her affiliation with an anti-contraception group called the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Hellwege admitted she would refuse to prescribe the birth control pill to anyone who wanted it. She was summarily told that prescribing the birth control pill was part of the job and was not hired.

Now, Hellwege is suing, with the backing of the Christian right organization Alliance Defending Freedom handling her case.  Both ADF and Hellwege throw the word “abortion” around a lot, falsely conflating non-barrier methods of contraception with abortion.  But the factual inaccuracy of Hellwege’s claims may not be an issue here, since the lawsuit argues that Hellwege is a victim of religious discrimination and deserves to be hired by a family planning clinic despite “her religious beliefs and association with the pro-life group AAPLOG.” Of course, the Supreme Court in Burwell v Hobby Lobby said that case covers all forms of contraception objected to in the name of religion, with no need for pseudoscience garble conflating ovulation suppression with abortion necessary, suggesting that the liberal use of the word “abortion” in this case is more about the continued right wing campaign to demonize contraception than anything else.

Win or lose, Hellwege’s case provides insight in how the war on contraception is shaping up. Direct assaults through legislation are going to be a much harder sell with contraception than abortion, so instead we’re getting the argument that someone else’s “religious freedom”—your boss, your nurse—entitles them to interfere with your ability to get contraception. Family planning centers are one place that women have long been able to trust will provide them contraception access without unnecessary hassle, and now the Christian right is trying to take even that away.

by on Jul. 21, 2014 at 6:25 PM
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Replies (1-7):
littlemum41
by Gold Member on Jul. 21, 2014 at 6:39 PM

 SHe applied for a job that she doesn't want to do? huh? It is a Family PLANNING center but she doesn't want to prescribe a famly planning method????

Dawn07
by on Jul. 21, 2014 at 6:40 PM
2 moms liked this
Shouldn't try to work in a place that you don't agree with.
PamR
by Platinum Member on Jul. 22, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Is she going to claim a religious exemption - along the lines of Hobby Lobby  - that she should be able to be employed but not perform the services that go against her personal beliefs?

Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Jul. 22, 2014 at 10:44 AM


Quoting PamR:

Is she going to claim a religious exemption - along the lines of Hobby Lobby  - that she should be able to be employed but not perform the services that go against her personal beliefs?

Yep-

This will bite us in the end-

fireangel5
by Bronze Member on Jul. 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM

1. I don't agree with this lawsuit. She should  prescribe the pill. She doesn't have to perform abortions. I suppose she could treat the patient but have another practitioner prescribe BCpills but regardless, they were within their right not to hire her. 

2. This is very similar to gays who apply to work at Catholic schools and then are surprised when they come out and are dismissed. I believe someone else stated that its fine to have your beliefs but then dont apply to work somewhere that does not support your beliefs. 

AdrianneHill
by Bronze Member on Jul. 23, 2014 at 3:27 PM
Someone defend her and have it not be an egregious attempt to set precedent further conflating "religious belief" to "right to never be questioned, disagreed with, or see something upsetting while I'm being paid to perform a service that I refuse to perform".
I'll wait here
AdrianneHill
by Bronze Member on Jul. 23, 2014 at 3:47 PM
While you're at this idiocy, why don't you ask to be an inner city hiv/aids counselor but you will refuse to counsel drug users or homosexuals because they're sinners? What that isn't just as Fucking ridiculous?
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