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County To Pay $370K After Trying To Force Nurse To Facilitate Abortions

Winnebago County, Illinois, must pay Sandra Rojas’ attorneys $370,000 after its health department fired her for refusing to facilitate abortions, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Rojas worked as a pediatric nurse for the Winnebago County Health Department for 18 years before the department began requiring nurses to undergo training on how to refer women to abortion facilities and help them access abortifacient contraceptives, according to the ADF, which served as Rojas’ co-counsel.

Rojas sought protection under the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act because encouraging abortions and abortifacient contraceptives violated her conscience and religious beliefs, according to the ADF. Rojas was nonetheless forced out of her job for refusing to violate her legally protected freedoms, the ADF said.

“Medical professionals should never be forced to engage in or promote activities that violate their beliefs or convictions,” ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said in a press release. “The court’s fee award sends a clear message that health care workers are free to practice medicine in a manner consistent with their conscience and religious beliefs, and there will be a steep penalty if the government fails to respect that legally protected freedom.”

Court documents explained that Rojas wasn’t entitled to more money damages because she could have mitigated her loss by seeking a different job after wrongfully losing the job she held for 18 years.

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