Nurse Who Won't Prescribe Birth Control Sues Clinic For Not Hiring Her


When Tampa, Florida nurse Sara Hellwege applied for a job at a local family planning clinic, she matter-of-factly informed her potential employers that she would not be prescribing any hormonal contraception. When the clinic didn’t hire her because prescribing birth control was part of the job, she responded by suing. Has the anti-birth control crowd reached Peak Asshole?

In her lawsuit — which is slightly less silly than an Amish person telling a team at Formula 1 that he doesn’t believe in driving and then acting completely confuzzled about why they didn’t hire him to drive a racecar (which he will not drive) — Hellwege alleges the Tampa Family Health Center has subjected her to religious discrimination after they learned that if she was hired, she would not do her job.

As you can see from the emails below, a Tampa Family Health Center employee informed Sara that there were no positions available that fit into Sara Hellwege’s moral parameters (AAPLOG is an organization of OB-GYNs and nurses that don’t believe in birth control). Hellwege continued to press about being hired to perform only some of the duties requires of the other positions.

That’s right. If you refuse to do your job because you simply don’t want to, you’re lazy. But if you refuse to do it because you think Jesus thinks sluts should be punished or that preventing ovulation is the same thing as bludgeoning and infant, you’re constitutionally protected.

Representing Hellwege is the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian organization that I’m sure would be equally proactive about defending the freedom of a nurse who says her religion mandates that she remove the clitorises of all female patients, or of a male gynecologist who refuses to touch women who haven’t undergone a post-menstrual cleansing ritual. Or a plumber who won’t look at poop. Or a fireman who believes that fires are literally alive and putting them out is the same as murder, even though science is like no. No that is not what putting a fire out is.

Slate’s Amanda Marcotte predicts that, in light of the Supreme Court’s shitburger of a ruling on Hobby Lobby, anti-birth control zealots are doubling down on the argument that “religion freedom” is ample justification for blocking women’s access to birth control, and that we can now expect to read about a barrage of lawsuits wherein One Aggrieved Christian claims they’re oppressed because they can’t interfere with other people’s health care decisions.

But if corporations are allowed to have “religious faith” that justifies discriminating against women who use contraception, then why wouldn’t they be allowed the same luxury in dismissing employees who, in their sincerely held belief, actively seek to harm women? It seems pretty baldly inconsistent for folks who sided with bosses in the Hobby Lobby case to suddenly come down hard against bosses when the tables are turned. Do business owners have the right to operate only in accordance with Christian morality? Do beliefs only count if they police sexuality? Do bosses have a right to “conscientiously object” to certain employee behaviors or don’t they?

Get ready for some mental gymnastics so intense that they’re sure to cause headaches in anyone who tries to follow them.

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