NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A dozen nurses in New Jersey have filed suit against the hospital where they work because the nurses don't want to assist during abortions.
They told CBS 2's Don Dahler what the hospital is doing is against their religion, and against the law.
Fe Vinoya of West Orange has been a nurse for 10 years. She said when her employer told her she would have to start training on how to help with abortions, she decided instead to join a lawsuit.
"As a Christian, I don't believe in abortion. I think it's murder," Vinoya said.
The women suing are same-day surgery nurses at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. They said until a few months ago, they were never asked to assist in those procedures.
But the nurses said the hospital implemented a policy change this past September and told them they had to assist abortions or risk being fired.
"In these economic times, that's a very, very difficult choice," attorney Demetrios Stratis said.
Dahler then asked, "If a procedure is legal, and abortion is legal, regardless of what your own personal beliefs are, why is it unreasonable for your employer to expect you to do your job?"
Vinoya answered, "Because it's against my religious conviction and it's against the law for them to force me, or for anyone to force me to assist in something that is against my religious conviction."
The lawsuit is based on federal and state laws which forbid any person working in a facility that receives public funds from being required to perform or assist in abortions. UMDNJ gets $60 million in federal funds.
The women are represented by an organization of anti-abortion attorneys.
"You can't force someone to do something that's against their conscious. Whether they're a nurse or otherwise," Stratis said.
The hospital issued the following statement on Monday: "No nurse is compelled to have direct involvement in, and/or attendance in the room at the time of, a procedure to which she or he objects based on his/her cultural values, ethics and/or religious beliefs."
UMDNJ insists no state or federal laws were broken, and said the hospital will be vindicated in court.
A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order to stop abortion training for any nurses who object to it. A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18.
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