The Washington Post

Protection­s work both ways


On the right to reproducti­ve choice, I couldn’t disagree more with the nurse practition­er who says she was fired for refusing to prescribe “abortion-causing” drugs, as reported in the Sept. 2 Metro article “Fired nurse in N.VA. files suit.” But those of us on the pro-choice side must acknowledg­e that the law protects everyone regardless of viewpoint.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodat­ion to the religious beliefs of employees. It is clear that the reasonable accommodat­ion obligation applies to this nurse practition­er. The Equal Employment Opportunit­y Commission website uses as an example of required accommodat­ion “a Christian pharmacy employee needs to be excused from filling birth control prescripti­ons.” The strength of that example shows that the nurse practition­er here should be excused from prescribin­g abortion and birth control drugs, unless CVS can show it would be an undue hardship for it to accommodat­e her religious beliefs.

David A. Drachsler, Alexandria The writer is former vice chair of the

Virginia Council on Human Rights.

After reading the Sept. 2 Metro article “Fired nurse in N.VA. files suit,” I recalled the ethics discussion­s my high school human anatomy and physiology students and I had. These students wanted to enter some section of the health-care system, so we talked about their personal beliefs and how to respond to patients. I reminded them their job is not to proselytiz­e but to help the patient in whatever was medically necessary. In other words, park your religious feelings some place other than on that patient.

CVS was correct in firing the nurse. If she chooses not to assist a patient in what is medically requested or required, she should find either another profession or a clinic that supports her individual religious beliefs. Patients who request help do not need to receive that help with a religious lesson thrown in. Or, as we have been reading lately: the religious lesson minus the help.

Melanie Files, Martinsbur­g, W.VA.

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