Phi Beta Cons

Vanderbilt Reverses Course

For the last two days, I’ve written about Vanderbilt’s unlawful requirement that applicants to one of its nursing residency programs sign a “Women’s Health Acknowledgment“ stating that nurses will be “expected to care for women undergoing termination of pregnancy.” Applications without this signed acknowledgment would not be considered, and the acknowledgment itself states that nurses with concerns about performing abortions should consider applying to a different program.

Two pro-life applicants filed complaints with the HHS Office of Civil Rights, and late yesterday, Vanderbilt sent an e-mail to applicants not only withdrawing the acknowledgment but specifically affirming that they did not require nurses to participate in abortions. Vanderbilt deserves real credit for this fast response. Other universities have spent years and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars doggedly defending blatantly unlawful policies.  

The true heroes of this episode are the two nursing students who stepped forward to challenge the policy. Without their courage, Vanderbilt’s unlawful acknowledgment would still be in place, and pro-life professionals would be screened from one of the nation’s top medical training programs. Well done.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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