Big Win For Pro-Life Believers in This Unexpected State

Sandra Mendoza Rojas worked as a pediatric nurse for over 18 years before she was unceremoniously fired for her pro-life views in 2015. Rojas is a devout Catholic who believes the unborn deserve a chance at life.

However, starting in 2015 new requirements forced nurses to help patients obtain abortion drugs and referrals to abortion clinics.

“Nursing is more than just a job, it is a noble calling to protect life and do no harm,” she said in an interview when her fight was just getting started. “There is something wrong when you are forced out of your job on account of your commitment to protect life.”

A Pro-Life Nurse Stands Her Ground

Rojas started her fight in 2016 when she filed a lawsuit against the Winnebago County Health Department, her former employer. Her suit alleged that her employer violated her conscience rights.

The local trial court agreed with her. This past Wednesday Rojas was awarded $374,000 in attorney’s fees. The court ruled that Winnebago County must pay for requiring a Christian nurse to provide abortion referrals and contraception.

“The Health Department improperly discriminated against (Rojas) by refusing to accommodate her objections of conscience in her existing job at the clinic,” the court wrote in its ruling. “The Court has concluded that the Health Department could have reasonably accommodated (Rojas’) objections without removing her from her job.”

Alliance Defending Freedom served as co-counsel in the case alongside Noel Sterett of Dalton & Tomich and Whitman Brisky of Mauck & Baker. Sterett hopes that this case will cause other employers to think twice before violating their employee’s religious beliefs.

“Healthcare professionals should not be required to violate their conscience to keep their jobs. Thankfully, Illinois has laws that protect a health care professional’s right to not participate in the provision of medical services which violate their conscience,” Sterett said in an interview with

He added, “No American should be forced to refer for abortions or assist patients in accessing abortifacients—least of all medical workers who entered the profession to follow their faith and save lives, not take them. The court’s decision is a win for all health care professionals throughout Illinois. Healthcare professionals should not be required to violate their conscience to keep their jobs.”

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