Last week, Illinois Right to Life executive director, Emily Zender, sat down for a personal interview with Attorney Noel Sterett of Mauck & Baker Law. Mr. Sterett and his team are defending Ms. Sandra Mendoza, a pediatric nurse in Rockford, Illinois, who was recently forced out of her job for her pro-life beliefs.
For eighteen years, Ms. Mendoza worked for the Winnebago Health Department, providing immunizations and screenings and faithfully serving the children within her community. Then, in 2015, the county’s new Public Health Administrator initiated a merger of women’s health care with pediatrics. Along with this change came the requirement that nurses like Ms. Mendoza provide abortion referrals and Plan B (abortion-causing drug) prescriptions to women.
As a strong pro-life advocate, Ms. Mendoza would be placed in a position that would violate her conscience. If she refused to comply, the Health Department presented her with an ultimatum: either she accept a demotion to a part-time position as food inspector or quit her job.
Despite the fact she is a mother with children to support, along with a committed history of working with the Winnebago Health Department for 18 years, Ms. Mendoza stood firm to her convictions and refused to participate in the abortion related services. She was then forced to resign from her position in July of 2015.
Ms. Mendoza now filed a lawsuit against the Winnebago County Health Department, seeking damages under the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. Mr. Sterett explains,
“The Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act is very strong. It provides that no public or private employer can take an adverse employment action against somebody for exerting their right of conscience in the provision of some type of medical care.”
Ms. Zender also asks Mr. Sterett if Senate Bill 1564, currently residing on Illinois Governor Rauner’s desk, is signed into law, would more situations like Ms. Mendoza’s arise? Is there a growing hostility in the medical profession to pro-life people?
Answers to these questions, more on how this heroic pro-life nurse is now pushing back, and much more in the interview below!
For more on this important case, watch the full interview here: