Fox News | by Kristine Parks | January 19, 2023
The FDA recently ruled that pharmacies like CVS can distribute the abortion pill mifepristone.
A Christian nurse practitioner is suing CVS after the company fired her for refusing to prescribe hormonal contraceptives or abortifacient drugs.
Texas nurse practitioner Robyn Strader worked for a CVS MinuteClinic for over six years before she was fired in 2021 after the company said they would no longer accommodate her religious objections to these medications.
Strader shared with Fox News Digital how her manager approached her in August 2021 and told her that she would be fired if she did not change her beliefs due to a change in company policy.
“She told me that unless I change my religious convictions or my conviction not to prescribe contraception, then my job would be terminated, October 31 ,” Strader recalled.
Robyn Strader sued CVS for firing her in October of 2021 over her refusal to prescribe hormonal contraceptives and abortifacient drugs
The nurse said she tried calling and sending letters to CVS’s Human Resources Department and legal department but was ignored. The company’s HR department had initially granted her a religious exemption when the clinic first started offering hormonal contraception, a few months after she had been hired.
She failed to get a response from CVS by the October deadline, even after Christian legal firm First Liberty sent a letter on her behalf.
First Liberty counsel Christine Pratt said that her client was rarely asked to prescribe these pills, only an average of five times a year, “sometimes less.” In those cases she would simply refer patients to another provider within the clinic to get the medication they wanted or refer them to a CVS less than two miles away.
“It was such a rare thing that it is pretty surprising that they would fire Robyn for that…surprising and illegal,” Pratt stated.
A customer walks into a CVS Pharmacy store, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Woburn, Mass. The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday, July 6, 2022, that pharmacies could now prescribe Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill directly to COVID-19 patients. ((AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File))
She said CVS’s decision against Strader was in clear violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
In August 2021 CVS announced that medications that prevented pregnancy were considered “essential” services, and the company would no longer provide religious accommodations excusing employees from providing them.
Pratt said that religious discrimination against health care workers is “ramping up” across the country, citing similar cases in Virginia and Michigan against CVS.
Strader says she hopes her lawsuit will protect other people of faith from fearing they could lose their jobs when they exercise their religion.
A KOC/Marist poll from January 2023 found the vast majority of the public believes health care professionals should not be forced to perform abortions. (iStock)
“[H]aving religious beliefs doesn’t prevent you from offering great service to other people,” she said. “Other people of faith [should] be able to do whatever job they prefer to do without having to be put in a position where you have to chose between what you believe and the type of work you do.”
Pratt said her client wasn’t the only one affected by CVS’s “illegal decision.”
“There’s a nursing shortage all over the country. It’s bewildering that CVS would harm not just its religious employees but also the general public who needs these medical services,” she said.
CVS Health spokesperson Mike DeAngelis defended the company’s decision to Fox News Digital.
“We have a well-defined process in place for employees to request and be granted a reasonable accommodation due to their religious beliefs, which in some cases can be an exemption from performing certain job functions,” DeAngelis wrote.
“It is not possible, however, to grant an accommodation that exempts an employee from performing the essential functions of their job. As we continue to enhance our MinuteClinic services, educating and treating patients regarding sexual health matters – including pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infection prevention, screening and treatment, and safer sex practices – have become essential job functions of our providers and nurses. We cannot grant exemptions from these essential MinuteClinic functions unless it is required by state law,” he wrote.
A majority of Americans believe healthcare workers’ religious beliefs on abortion should be protected in the workplace, according to a new survey.
75 percent of Americans believe doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals with religious objections to abortions should not be legally required to perform them, a January 2023 survey by the Knights of Columbus and Marist found. That number has bipartisan support with 65% of Democrats agreeing.