BLOGThis Pediatric Nurse Was Fired after 18 Years of Excellent Service

By Sarah Kramer Posted on: | April 05, 2018

Sandra (Mendoza) Rojas discovered her calling at 17 years old.

When she went out to find a job, she ended up at a local children’s home. It was then and there that she knew she wanted to become a nurse, serving children. And that is exactly what she has been doing for the past 40 years.

When she became a pediatric nurse, she wanted a workplace where the commitment to “do no harm” was upheld. But, because of her religious convictions, Sandra was fired from her job and pushed out of the profession she loves. Here is her story:




The Conscience Protection Act, a bill that U.S. Rep. Diane Black (a former nurse) introduced last year, strengthens existing laws that protect the freedom of conscience in healthcare. It also provides healthcare professionals with legal recourse should those freedoms be threatened.

Sandra is just one example of how the Conscience Protection Act would meaningfully protect healthcare workers.

She has served her young patients faithfully for 40 years – the last 18 of which were with the Winnebago County Health Department, where she was named Employee of the Month and Employee of the Quarter. Her superiors acknowledge that she was an excellent employee. Yet she was fired.

The true irony of Sandra’s situation was that she was fired for doing her job – for caring for each and every child, whether born or unborn.

Sandra’s case is not the only of its kind, unfortunately. Alliance Defending Freedom has represented a number of healthcare professionals who have been told to violate their beliefs or forfeit their careers.

  • Nurse Cathy DeCarlo was forced to violate her beliefs by participating in an abortion at her New York hospital.
  • Twelve nurses in New Jersey were told they must assist with abortions or face being fired or transferred.
  • Nursing student Anne Marie Dust wanted to apply for the nursing residency program at Vanderbilt University, but in order to do so, she was expected to agree to perform an abortion.
  • The ACLU sought to force Trinity Health, a Catholic hospital system that operates 94 hospitals in multiple states, and its employees to violate Catholic teaching by committing abortions.

For many of these healthcare professionals, their career is an extension of their beliefs. They feel called to serve the sick and hurting, the “least of these” of which Matthew 25 speaks. Participating in an abortion – killing an unborn baby and harming the mother psychologically if not also physically – directly contradicts their beliefs, their values, and the oath these healthcare professionals took to “do no harm.”

If the government prohibits healthcare professionals from working according to their ethical and moral convictions, that should concern us all. The Conscience Protection Act would provide an important and much-needed protection to the freedom of conscience for these professionals. The freedom to live and work according to our beliefs benefits us all.

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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