By Mauck & Baker
On Wednesday, Rockford, Illinois nurse Sandra Mendoza sued the Winnebago County Health Department for forcing her out of her long-time job as a pediatric nurse on account of her refusal to participate in abortion related services. Ms. Mendoza, a devout Catholic, had worked for the Health Department for 18 years providing pediatric care, immunizations, and screenings.
In 2015, the County’s new Public Health Administrator, Dr. Sandra Martell, merged the pediatric clinic with women’s health services and mandated that all nurses be trained to provide abortion referrals and participate in the provision of abortifacients like Plan B.
When Ms. Mendoza informed Dr. Martell and the administration of her conscientious objections to participating in any way in the provision of abortions, Dr. Martell gave Ms. Mendoza two weeks to either quit or accept a demotion to a temporary job as a food inspector. Mendoza refused the demotion and was forced to resign in July 2015.
The suit seeks damages under the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act which prohibits public officials from discriminating against a person in any manner because of their conscientious refusal to participate in any way in the provision of abortions.
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