The clinic fired Casey despite Virginia’s Conscience Clause, which explicitly says medical professionals with religious and conscience convictions cannot be denied employment or face disciplinary action if they refuse to participate in abortions.
“Any person who shall state in writing an objection to any abortion or all abortions on personal, ethical, moral or religious grounds shall not be required to participate in procedures which will result in such abortion,” the law states.
Lawyers for ADF said that Casey’s religious freedom also was violated.
“Corporations like CVS cannot defy the law by firing professionals who want to work consistently with their faith,” Denise Harle, ADF senior counsel and director of Center for Life, said in a statement.
Harle added that “Virginia law protects the freedom of everyone to work without fear of being fired for their religious beliefs prohibiting participation in abortion.”
Casey told CNA in an email statement that “CVS’s actions were unjust, and I hope that this case will prevent them from forcing health care professionals to act against their religious, moral, and ethical beliefs.”
“For three and a half years, CVS easily accommodated my beliefs, and other medical professionals were willing and able to prescribe and administer the drugs if necessary,” she said.
DeAngelis told CNA that CVS has a “well-defined” process for employees to get a “reasonable accommodation” for religious beliefs which may prevent them from certain job duties.
DeAngelis said that MinuteClinic “cannot grant exemptions” from “essential MinuteClinic functions,” adding that this included “sexual health matters” like “pregnancy prevention.”
Conflicting definitions of human life
Casey’s lawsuit underscores the disagreement over the way drugs such as Plan B and Ella work — and even over the question of when human life begins.
(Story continues below)
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Those drugs can induce an abortion when used post-conception to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus, explains Dr. Chris Stroud, an Indiana OB-GYN who is a member of the Catholic Medical Association.
In a phone interview with CNA, Stroud explained how Plan B works to prevent pregnancy when taken before ovulation, but if taken after, works as an abortive drug.
“It is an abortifacient some percentage of the time,” Stroud said. “The only way it works post-ovulation is to be an abortifacient.”
“The question I always pose to pro-life people is, what percentage of the time are you comfortable with greater than zero? What percentage of greater than zero can you live with?” he asked.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says Plan B can be used after the egg has already been fertilized by stopping it “from attaching to the womb (implantation).”
This, says Stroud, amounts to abortion.