A Virginia nurse practitioner has filed a lawsuit against the CVS drugstore chain after she claims the company fired her for refusing to provide abortion-inducing drugs, a service that violated her religious beliefs.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing nurse practitioner Paige Casey filed suit in Prince William County Virginia Circuit Court against MinuteClinic, which they allege fired Casey, a practicing Catholic, when she did not provide customers with abortion drugs.
The lawsuit alleges that MinuteClinic had previously respected Casey's Catholic faith for several years when it came to providing drugs that would induce an abortion and had even given her a merit-based pay raise just two days before firing her.
"MinuteClinic abruptly stopped respecting Mrs. Casey’s religious beliefs in December 2021 and fired her on April 1, 2022, solely for refusing to prescribe abortion-causing drugs," the lawsuit states. "That wrongful discharge for refusal to participate in abortion violated the express provisions of, and public policy in, Virginia’s Conscience Clause (Va. Code § 18.2-75), causing Mrs. Casey extensive monetary and other damage. This lawsuit seeks to remedy the injuries Mrs. Casey suffered to her conscience rights and the related costly harms."
"Corporations like CVS cannot defy the law by firing professionals who want to work consistently with their faith," ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life, said in a press release. "Paige had a spotless record of caring for patients, yet CVS decided to abruptly fire her, solely because of her religious belief that life begins at conception. Virginia law protects the freedom of everyone to work without fear of being fired for their religious beliefs prohibiting participation in abortion."
"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," Mike DeAngelis, executive director of corporate communications at CVS Health, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. "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," DeAngelis added. "We cannot grant exemptions from these essential MinuteClinic functions."
Virginia's "Conscience Clause" states that "any person" who states in writing an objection to "any abortion or all abortions on personal, ethical, moral or religious grounds shall not be required to participate in procedures which will result in such abortion."
"The refusal of such person, hospital or other medical facility to participate therein shall not form the basis of any claim for damages on account of such refusal or for any disciplinary or recriminatory action against such person, nor shall any such person be denied employment because of such objection or refusal," the law states.
The lawsuit states that Casey submitted her objection to providing abortion drugs in writing in Feb. 2019.
"On the form, Mrs. Casey described her religious convictions regarding abortion—specifically stating that as a practicing Roman Catholic she is prohibited from prescribing or facilitating the use of a drug or device that prevents or can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg—and requested and suggested a reasonable accommodation," the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit says that the company announced in August 2021 that it would no longer be honoring objections like Casey's and on Jan. 18, 2022, the company told her in a letter that her exemption would no longer be accommodated.
Later that year, in late March, the lawsuit states that "MinuteClinic notified Mrs. Casey of her separation from CVS Minute Clinic, effective April 1, 2022 solely because of her religious beliefs prohibiting provision of abortion-causing drugs."