This story broke in the fall — and a resolution was reached just before Christmas.
The nurses in the same-day surgery unit of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey can remain in their current jobs and will only be required to help patients with abortions in a life-threatening emergency when no other nonobjecting staff members are available and only until someone can be brought in to relieve them, according to the Dec. 22 agreement.
U.S. District Judge Jose Linares, who mediated the agreement, said the nurses would be allowed to remain in the unit and would not be discriminated against because of their stance on abortion. He declined to rule on how the hospital would configure its nursing staff, calling that a contract issue.
Linares will retain jurisdiction over the case to rule on its enforcement or any disputes that arise because of it.
The Associated Press reported that the judge praised both sides for reaching an agreement on a case that was not an easy one to resolve since it concerned a highly emotional issue and the complexities of a hospital’s obligations to its patients.
The group of nurses filed suit against the hospital Oct. 31, a month after they had been notified in writing that the hospital’s new policy would require same-day surgery unit nurses to assist in abortions. One nurse said the policy confronted them with a “choice between our faith and our jobs.”