The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is doing an about face, announcing it will not force doctors and nurses to perform abortions that violate their religious views.
The news comes because of a lawsuit, filed by Stephanie Carter, who is a nurse practitioner at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Texas.
On September 2, 2022, the VA issued a rule permitting pregnant veterans and their beneficiaries to get abortions in VA facilities.
The VA said it would perform abortions “when the life or health of a pregnant Veteran would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.”
But Stephanie Carter, an Army veteran who works at a VA facility, could not in good conscience agree to assist, in any way, the performance of an abortion or abortion counseling. As a Christian, Carter believes in the sanctity of human life and sees every child – born and unborn – as made in the imago dei.
In an email to supporters, First Liberty, which helped Carter file her lawsuit against the VA, said that after the agency’s announcement of its abortion policy, Carter filed two requests for a religious accommodation. Carter asked the VA to make sure she would not be required to participate in an abortion.
But the VA told her that no such accommodations process existed.
In the email, First Liberty said that Carter was “being forced to choose between violating her conscience of keeping her job.”
Therefore, Carter filed a lawsuit against the VA in federal court seeking a religious accommodation.
As a result of the lawsuit, the VA has now reversed course and announced that all employees who have religious objections to participating in an abortion will not be required to do so.
In return, Carter has asked for her lawsuit against the VA to be dismissed.
“We’re pleased that the VA implemented a nationwide policy to protect the religious liberty rights of all VA employees,” Danielle Runyan, Senior Counsel for First Liberty, said in a statement.
Stephanie Carter is living proudly by her faith and should not be forced to choose between her faith and her career. Because of her courage, every VA employee in the nation can now seek a religious accommodation from participating in a procedure they find unconscionable.
The VA’s announcement is a victory not just for Stephanie Carter, but for every other VA employee who can now refuse to participate in an action they see as gravely immoral: the taking of innocent preborn life.
We can all be grateful for Stephanie’s courage and conviction, as well as the great work of the First Liberty team to protect our religious freedom.
The case is Stephanie Carter v. Denis Richard McDonough.
If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and want to learn more about your options, you can visit My Choice Network here.
When you need someone to talk to about your baby, or whatever else you’re going through, we’re here. Please reach out. 1-800-A-FAMILY.
Related articles and resources:
Photo from Shutterstock.