Fred Mogul, Reporter, WNYC News
Fred Mogul has been covering healthcare and medicine for WNYC since 2002.
A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order, saying University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey Hospital in Newark can’t force nurses to participate in abortions.
Sixteen nurses requested an injunction earlier this week, saying they were threatened with dismissal if they refused to participate in terminations of pregnancy.
In court filings, the plaintiffs said a recently promoted nurse manager last month insisted her staff all be trained in assisting abortions and be ready to fill that role, if necessary.
UMDNJ released a statement saying nurses are not compelled to be involved, or present, at any procedure to which they object. "The university is in full compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and is confident its position will be vindicated when the court gives this matter a full hearing," the statement said.
Two of the 16 nurses allege they underwent training, under duress, and observed abortions, before the restraining order took effect. They said they suffered emotional distress, and their attorney is seeking unspecified damages.
United States District Judge Jose Linares has called a hearing for later this month. He has issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting UMDNJ from requiring the plaintiffs to undergo any training, procedures or performances relating to abortions and from firing or demoting the nurses or changing their positions.