Christian Nurse to get $374k in Legal Fees following Compulsion to Assist Abortion Service

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A Christian nurse, Sandra Rojas, is set to get $374, 104 in legal fees following compulsion by Illinois County to carry out abortion and give abortifacient contraceptives against her faith.

For 18 years, she worked with the Winnebago County Health Department as a pediatric nurse. In 2015, Rojas and other nurses were asked to undergo training that entails learning about abortifacient contraceptives and abortion referrals.

According to Rojas, aiding abortion is against her Christian faith. Hence, she declined. She was given a temporary religious accommodation and was informed that the training and the services which were abortion-related services were necessary to work in her position.

The nurse resigned and filed a lawsuit against the county, stating that it breaches her right to religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

Judge Eugene G. Doherty of the 17th Judicial Circuit supported Rojas in 2021 adding that there was an exhibition of improper discrimination against Rojas by not accepting her complaints that abortion services does not align with her conscience. The judge noted that the department had violated the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act.

This week, he ordered the county to pay $374,104 in attorney’s fees. The co-counsel for the nurse was Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Others counsels in the case were Noel Sterett of Dalton & Tomich and Whitman Brisky of Mauck & Baker.

Kevin Theriot, the senior counsel of ADF said, “Medical professionals should never be forced to engage in or promote activities that violate their beliefs or convictions. Sandra served as a nurse according to her conscience and religion – a right for medical providers that is protected under Illinois and federal law.

“The court’s fee award sends a clear message that healthcare workers are free to practice medicine in a manner consistent with their conscience and religious beliefs, and there will be a steep penalty if the government fails to respect that legally protected freedom.”

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