MANHATTAN (CN) – An operating room nurse who says she was forced to assist in a late-term abortion cannot sue the hospital for disregarding her refusal on religious grounds, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
Catherine Cenzon-DeCarlo says she signed a form stating she would be unwilling to participate in abortions when she was hired by Mount Sinai Hospital in 2004.
In May 2009, however, Cenzon-DeCarlo’s supervisors allegedly “compelled” her to participate in a late-term abortion and then tried to make her sign a form indicating future willingness to assist in emergency abortions.
Cenzon-DeCarlo sued the hospital under the so-called “church amendment,” which was passed in the wake of Roe v. Wade and describes the rights of health professionals who refuse to or to do perform abortion procedures on religious grounds.
The 2nd Circuit upheld a federal judge’s ruling that the right does not provide a private right of action to enforce the law, which must be created by Congress.
“This ‘evidence of law’ is at best only evidence of an intent to confer individual rights, not an explicit conferral,” the circuit judges wrote (italics in original). “While there may be some colorable evidence of intent to confer or recognize an individual right, there is no evidence that Congress intended to create a right of action.”
With regard to Cenzon-DeCarlo’s claim of state discrimination, the 2nd Circuit noted, without comment, “that these and other avenues to potential relief remain open to her.”