BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department has dismissed a lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center alleging it forced a nurse to participate in an abortion procedure she objected to on religious grounds.
The one-page notice filed by the Justice Department in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Friday gave no reason for its decision. The action was first reported by the online news site VTDigger.org.
The lawsuit, filed last December in the waning days of the Trump administration, alleged the Burlington hospital violated the Church Amendment, which prevents hospitals from discriminating against health care workers who refuse to perform or assist with abortions.
Before the lawsuit was filed, the hospital had been negotiating the issue with the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. The hospital said that it had strengthened “its already-compliant provider opt-out policies and practices.”
At the time, hospital President Dr. Stephen Leffler said the office of civil rights’ “threats are not just baseless from a legal standpoint, they’re an attack on reproductive care and we will do everything we can to protect our patients’ access to the services they need.”