Sandra Rojas got into pediatric nursing to make children’s lives better. But after nearly 20 years at the Winnebago County Health Department, she was asked to do the exact opposite.
In 2015, Sandra was required to start referring for and facilitating abortions. But this wasn’t something she could agree to. Sandra became a pediatric nurse to take care of children, not to take their lives.
Because of this, Sandra lost her job. Here is her story.
Sandra was 17 years old when she walked into a local children’s home. She knew then and there that she wanted to serve children. That’s why she became a pediatric nurse.
And Sandra excelled at her job. During her 18 years at the Winnebago County Health Department in Rockford, Illinois, she received awards for her professionalism, care, and commitment to improving her patients’ lives.
But when a new public health administrator decided to merge Sandra’s pediatric clinic with the women’s health department in 2015, things began to change.
Moving forward, all nurses—including pediatric nurses—would be required to provide abortion referrals and provide abortion-inducing drugs to women. But Sandra believes that all human life is precious and deserving of dignity. Not to mention that referring for or participating in abortions would violate the oath she took to “do no harm.”
This left Sandra with two choices: violate her religious beliefs or lose her job.
Because she could not abandon her beliefs—the very beliefs that motivate her to serve children and their families—Sandra lost her job, her income, and her health insurance. Financially, she could no longer help pay for her son’s college tuition or her grandchildren’s educational expenses.
That’s why Sandra reached out Alliance Defending Freedom ally, Noel Sterett, and we assisted him in filing a lawsuit on her behalf.
Pro-life healthcare professionals should never be forced to violate their conscience to keep their jobs.
Unfortunately, Sandra’s situation is not unique. Hospitals across the country try to force their employees to take the lives of their patients whom they’ve committed to protect.
This even happens in states that have laws protecting the rights of conscience for healthcare professionals. And Illinois actually has one of these laws! But you wouldn’t know that based on Sandra’s experience.
Sandra wants to make sure that other pro-life healthcare professionals never have to go through what she did—that they are free live out their beliefs without fear of losing their jobs. That is the freedom that she is standing for. And we at ADF are standing beside her.
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