Pro-Lifer Sues Health Clinic For Not Hiring Her After She Wouldn’t Do Job She Applied For


A stridently pro-life woman is suing a family planning clinic for not hiring her because she wouldn’t work with birth control – despite that being a major part of the job.

Sara Hellwege was turned down for a nursing job at the clinic after she admitted to her prospective employer that she was morally opposed to doing any part of the job which required her to administer or assign birth control to women who came in. This posed a pretty serious problem with regards to her capacity to do the job given the fact that this was a clinic which primarily served as a resource for men and women looking for contraceptives and birth control.

In a series of emails (published here), Hellwege converses with Chad Lindsey, the human resources director of Tampa Family Health Centers. After asking about her qualifications and other administrative issues, Lindsey notices that on her resume, Hellwege listed her membership in the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He asked if her pro-life beliefs would affect her ability to work at the clinic, citing its Title X status explicitly making it a facility which provides contraceptive services.

Hellwege’s response is enough to immediately make it clear that she is a terrible fit for the job:

Hi Mr. Lindsey,

Thanks for such a timely response. Yes, I am a member of AAPLOG. Due to religious guidelines, I am able to counsel women regarding all forms of contraception, however, cannot [prescribe] it unless pathology exists – however have no issue with barrier methods & sterilization.

She then asks if there are any positions available in other areas which wouldn’t require her to work around her religious issues with birth control.

Lindsey politely sends her a final email which explains that given the clinic’s focus, there didn’t seem to be a way to feasibly hire her considering her moral objections. He also notes that some of the other jobs she was after were already filled and so employment wasn’t a possibility.

Rather than move on to other applications, Hellwege decided to wage war against the unfair treatment she thinks she received from the clinic. According to her reasoning, anything less than hiring her and working around her moral objections to the job was tantamount to religious persecution. Hellwege lawyered up and filed a lawsuit against the clinic for religious discrimination.

Her defense team is made up of members of the Alliance Defending Freedom. The group describes itself as “an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith” and also “a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.”

According to a press release from the ADF announcing Hellwege’s lawsuit:

The lawsuit, Hellwege v. Tampa Family Health Centers, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, explains that “TFHC’s refusal to consider Ms. Hellwege’s application for employment on the basis of her religious beliefs and association with the pro-life group AAPLOG violates multiple federal laws.”

The lawsuit also explains that “Florida law shall not require ‘any person to participate in the termination of a pregnancy, nor shall…any person be liable for such refusal.’” Moreover, “Ms. Hellwege has the right to refuse to prescribe abortifacient contraceptives where such actions violate her religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

Which is an absolutely insane way of reading discrimination laws. The protections state that employers aren’t allowed to fire or not hire someone based solely on their religious beliefs (good), but it doesn’t mean that they are legally bound to hire a person regardless of whether they can or will do the job they applied for (bad). If that were the case, it would mean any religious objection to literally any job would be fair game. Baseball players could object to holding the bat, and sue when they were cut from the team. A painter could announce that God told him to only color in primary colors and his employer couldn’t make him use any other ones. It goes on and on. Any variation of religious beliefs conflicting with job expectations could be imagined and all would have a valid claim to justice.

In other words, the case is nonsense.

Hellwege wanted to get paid for a job that morally she wasn’t prepared to do. She believes birth control is abortion and therefore she would make a terrible fit at a clinic which provides birth control (side note: We should question the medical training of any nurse who believes that birth control is “abortifacients,” – as Hellwege believes – anyway. She clearly isn’t very knowledgeable about the subject.) Not hiring Hellwege was the only real option available to this employer and it’s terrible that they now have to waste money on costly litigation which could have been spent on improving the quality of healthcare provided to their patients.

On the flip side, if Hellwege somehow manages to win her lawsuit, feel free to go into work the next day and tell your boss that it is your firmly held religious belief that you never have to work again and leave an address for where she can start sending your paychecks. After all, they wouldn’t want to encroach on your religious freedom…

[h/t Wonkette]