A nurse practitioner in northern Virginia is alleging she was fired from CVS for refusing to provide abortion-inducing drugs at one of the company’s facilities.
The nurse practitioner, Paige Casey, filed the lawsuit in Prince William County Circuit Court this week. Casey, who is Catholic, worked at a MinuteClinic in Alexandria, Virginia. Casey said in the lawsuit that CVS exempted her for more than two years from prescribing drugs and devices that can cause an abortion, including emergency contraceptives like Plan B and Ella.
According to The Washington Post, in August 2021, the company announced that its employees could no longer avoid providing birth control and abortion-inducing drugs. Casey once again asked her employer for accommodations for her religious beliefs. The company denied her request. She was fired in April.
In a statement to the Post, Mike DeAngelis, a CVS spokesperson, said that employees can submit requests to the company based on their religious beliefs. But, DeAngelis said employees cannot be exempt from “aiding pregnancy prevention and safe sex practices,” adding that they are “essential MinuteClinic functions.”
Denise Harle, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, which is the legal group representing Casey, said that “we are entering dangerous territory if corporations can fire someone for exercising their religious beliefs.” Harle added that Virginia law protects people from being forced to partake in procedures that result in an abortion.
According to pro-life organization Live Action, hormonal contraceptives, including the morning-after pill, can cause an abortion. If a woman has had unprotected sex and fertilization has occurred, a morning-after pill can prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the woman’s uterus. Live Action specifies that the morning-after pill is different from a medication abortion, which I’ve covered for Townhall.
In July, Townhall covered how the U.S. Department of Health Human Services (HHS) issued guidance to approximately 60,000 retail pharmacies stating that as recipients of federal financial assistance, they are obligated to supply prescribed medications for reproductive health care services including abortion. Pharmacies could risk violating civil rights law if they refuse to fill prescriptions for medication used in abortions.
The four-page guidance outlined several different scenarios where a pregnant woman would need to obtain “ comprehensive reproductive health care services” from a pharmacy. Some examples include obtaining birth control, such as Plan B, the birth control ring, the pill or the patch. Others included pills that cause an abortion.
The guidance specified that pharmacies must fill prescriptions of mifepristone and misoprostol, the two medications used to terminate a pregnancy through a medication abortion. The former cuts off progesterone from allowing the pregnancy to grow while the latter expels the pregnancy from the woman’s body.
In June, right after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the HHS unveiled a new website called ReproductiveRights.gov that directed women, including minors, to resources to obtain surgical and medication abortions. One resource the HHS directed users to was AbortionFinder.org, which helps pinpoint nearby abortion clinics and the services they provide.
For women under age 18, AbortionFinder.org directs them to a separate website, Repro Legal Helpline, which points them to resources to obtain a judicial bypass to get an abortion and secure funds to pay for it. The webpage contains a “quick exit” button that immediately redirects the website to an unrelated webpage, presumably so a minor can avoid getting caught browsing the site.