A group of 84 Republican lawmakers is accusing Attorney General Merrick Garland and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra of violating federal conscience protection laws for telling the Justice Department to drop a lawsuit against a hospital that forced a nurse to assist an elective abortion, the Daily Caller is reporting.
Their comments came in a Wednesday letter to Garland and Becerra obtained by the outlet.
"We write to express our concerns with your coordinated decision to see a voluntary dismissal in the lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) for knowingly, willfully and repeatedly violating federal conscience-protection laws," the letter, spearheaded by Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and James Lankford of Oklahoma, said.
"On August 28, 2019, the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a notice of violation against UVMMC after it violated federal law by forcing a nurse to assist in an elective abortion, despite her well-known objections to abortion."
The letter noted HHS has since revoked its notice of violation and requested DOJ dismiss the lawsuit against UVMMC.
"Your handling of this case is a profound miscarriage of justice and a rejection of your commitment to enforce federal conscience laws for Americans of all religious believes and creeds – and especially doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who object to abortions.
"Your actions signal to employees all around the country that they don’t need to comply with the law because your agencies will not enforce it. They also signal that this administration would rather allow consciences to be violated at the behest of the abortion lobby rather enforce the law and protect religious liberty."
The Associated Press reported that the Justice Department had dropped the lawsuit late in July. The one-page notice filed in U.S. District Court did not give a reason for the decision.
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