November 4, 2021

Catholic Nurse Wins Lawsuit Against Illinois County that Fired her for Refusing to Support Abortion

Sandra Rojas
photo credit: Alliance Defending Freedom
Catholic pediatric nurse Sandra Rojas, who was fired from the Winnebago County Health Department for refusing to refer women for abortions, won her wrongful termination suit against the county last Thursday.

The 17th Judicial Circuit Court ruled that it was unlawful for the Winnebago County Health Department to fire her in 2015. Judge Eugene Doherty wrote in his opinion that “The Court has concluded that the Health Department could have reasonably accommodated [Rojas’] objections without removing her from her job,” and therefore, “The Health Department improperly discriminated against Plaintiff by refusing to accommodate her objections of conscience…”

Rojas had worked as a pediatric nurse for the county for 18 years before 2015. During that year, a new policy was instituted which compelled nurses to refer women for abortions and help them obtain abortion pills. According to Rojas's Catholic beliefs, abortion is considered a sin, and she cannot cooperate with it.

“No American should be forced to refer for abortions or assist patients in accessing abortifacients – least of all medical workers who entered the profession to follow their faith and save lives, not take them,” stated Alliance Defending Freedom lead Noel counsel Sterett. “The court’s decision is a win for all health care professionals throughout Illinois. Healthcare professionals should not be required to violate their conscience to keep their jobs.”

The 17th Circuit used the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act as the basis for its decision. Democratic lawmakers recently voted to amend this law to prevent pro-lifers from using it to receive exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates. All currently available COVID vaccines were developed and/or produced with the use of STEM cell lines harvested from aborted babies. While the amendment would not affect a ruling like this, it shows a willingness by pro-abortion politicians to infringe upon the conscience rights of pro-life advocates. Pro-lifers need to watch out and work to prevent religious freedoms like the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act from eroding.