WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) joined a bicameral letter led by Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra demanding answers about why the Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped a lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC), which has received federal funds from HHS since 1998, for forcing a nurse to assist with an abortion procedure against the nurse’s registered conscience objections and in clear violation of long-standing federal law.
“Your handling of this case is a profound miscarriage of justice and a rejection of your commitment to enforce federal conscience laws for Americans of all religious beliefs and creeds—and especially for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who object to abortion,” wrote the members. “Your actions signal to employers all around the country that they don’t need to comply with the law because your agencies will not enforce it. They also signal that this administration would rather allow consciences to be violated at the behest of the abortion lobby rather enforce the law and protect religious liberty. We demand a full explanation of your agencies’ actions.”
Under the Trump Administration, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) conducted an extensive investigation and referred the violation to the DOJ, which then filed a lawsuit in federal court. But now, under the Biden Administration and the leadership of Secretary Becerra, HHS withdrew its request, and the DOJ dropped the lawsuit without any settlement or restitution.
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