....specifically, that a family planning center - you know what that is, yes? - a family planning center violated her religious freedom and unfairly discriminated against her by refusing to hire her when she said that if hired, she would refuse to prescribe birth control pills to patients in this.....
...and I can't stress it enough....
....this family planning center she applied to.
From the organization who filed the suit:
TAMPA, Fla. — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a federal lawsuit against a federally funded health center in Tampa for refusing to consider an applicant for employment as a nurse because she is a member of a pro-life medical association and has a faith-based objection to prescribing some birth control methods that could lead to an abortion.
“No one deserves to suffer discrimination just because they’re pro-life,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Federal and state law make it clear that being pro-abortion cannot be a prerequisite for employment, nor can federally funded facilities force nurses to assist with practices that could lead to an abortion.”
In April, the human resources director of Tampa Family Health Centers questioned Sara Hellwege about her membership with the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists after she submitted a job application for a nurse-midwife position. After Hellwege confirmed her association with the group and that her religious beliefs prevent her from prescribing hormonal birth control drugs that can result in an early abortion in some circumstances, the director informed her in an e-mail, “Due to the fact that…you are a member of AAPLOG, we would be unable to move forward in the interviewing process.”
The lawsuit, Hellwege v. Tampa Family Health Centers, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, explains that “TFHC’s refusal to consider Ms. Hellwege’s application for employment on the basis of her religious beliefs and association with the pro-life group AAPLOG violates multiple federal laws.”
The lawsuit also explains that “Florida law shall not require ‘any person to participate in the termination of a pregnancy, nor shall...any person be liable for such refusal.’” Moreover, “Ms. Hellwege has the right to refuse to prescribe abortifacient contraceptives where such actions violate her religious beliefs or moral convictions.”
On Hellwege’s behalf, ADF attorneys also filed a Title VII complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office in Tampa and a Federal Tort Claims Act complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. Both laws protect Hellwege from discrimination based on her pro-life views.
“Willingness to commit an abortion cannot be a litmus test for employment,” added ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “All we are asking is for the health center to obey the law and not make a nurse’s employment contingent upon giving up her respect for life.”
From a hardcore feminist I usually can't stand:
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 nurses who refuse to let patients plan their families, all in the name of “religious freedom.”
Sara Hellwege is a nurse 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.