Danquah v. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey resource page
Victory for pro-life nurses in lawsuit against NJ hospital
ADF attorney sound bite: Matt Bowman
“No pro-life medical personnel should be forced to assist or train in services related to abortions. The hospital has finally done the right thing in agreeing to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, who represented the nurses before the court Thursday. “The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose not to participate in abortion according to their legal rights.”
The hospital agreed not to replace the pro-life nurses or reduce their hours. The nurses affirmed that if a woman suffers a true emergency from an abortion, they will help protect her until other staff, such as the emergency team, arrives moments later. Because the abortions are all elective, outpatient surgeries, and the court is requiring the hospital to fully staff all abortion cases with non-objecting medical personnel, the pro-life nurses should never actually be needed in any such case.
At Thursday’s hearing, the judge warned the hospital that the nurses can return to the court if the hospital penalizes them, assigns them to work abortion cases, or pretextually attempts to require them to assist with abortions.
Last month, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey issued a temporary restraining order, with the hospital’s temporary consent, that prohibited the hospital from coercing the nurses until the court could further consider the case at Thursday’s hearing.
Federal law prohibits hospitals that receive certain federal funds from forcing employees to participate in abortions. UMDNJ receives approximately $60 million in federal health funds annually. In addition, New Jersey law states, “No person shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion or sterilization.” The lawsuit requests that the hospital be ordered to obey these laws and to return part of the federal taxpayer money it has received in light of its violation of federal conscience laws.
Demetrios K. Stratis, one of nearly 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is local counsel in the case, Danquah v. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Stratis is with the firm Ruta, Soulios & Stratis, LLP.
- Pronunciation guide: Bowman (BOH’-min), Stratis (STRAH’-tis)
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Matt Bowman serves as senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where he focuses on the impact of administrative law on religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and family. He most recently joined ADF in December 2020. From 2017 to 2020, Bowman was a senior executive service appointee in the Trump administration, serving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Deputy General Counsel, and then in the Office for Civil Rights. Prior to joining HHS, Bowman was an accomplished litigator at ADF for over ten years. Before joining ADF in 2006, Bowman served as a law clerk for Judges Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Michael A. Chagares, at the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and for Judge John M. Roll at the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Bowman earned his J.D. summa cum laude and was first in his class at Ave Maria School of Law in 2003. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and Michigan and is admitted to practice at the U.S. Supreme Court and multiple federal appellate and district courts.