Phi Beta Cons

Vanderbilt’s Shocking Abortion Illegality

As a matter of common decency, as a matter of law, and as a matter of conscience, it is hard to imagine a more invasive and reprehensible act than to require individuals who understand that an unborn child is a distinct human life to pledge to participate in killing that child. Yet that is exactly what Vanderbilt requires of nurses in the Women’s Health Track of its Nurse Residency Program. The university’s nursing residency application contains a specific, separate letter (called — in the Orwellian language of the abortion movement — a “Women’s Health Acknowledgment”) noting that nurses in the Women’s Health Track will be “expected to care for women undergoing termination of pregnancy.”  If they do not sign the letter, their application “will not be considered.”

As my Alliance Defense Fund colleague lays out in considerable detail, this requirement blatantly violates federal law. The Church Amendments — passed three decades ago by an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress — could not be more clear:

No entity which receives . . . any grant, contract, loan, loan guarantee, or interest subsidy under the Public Health Service Act [and additional other HHS administered laws] may deny admission or otherwise discriminate against any applicant (including applicants for internships and residencies) for training or study because of the applicant’s reluctance, or willingness, to counsel, suggest, recommend, assist, or in any way participate in the performance of abortions or sterilizations contrary to or consistent with the applicant’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.

As of fiscal year 2008, Vanderbilt received more than $313,000,000 in HHS grants, making it the nation’s 15th-largest HHS grantee.

This morning, ADF filed a complaint with the HHS Office of Civil Rights on behalf of a pro-life nursing student, calling on the Obama administration to enforce federal law and to protect health providers’ most basic rights of conscience. Will a pro-abortion administration step up and force Vanderbilt to comply with its legal obligations?  

This is an ideal opportunity for the House Pro-Life Caucus to hold Vanderbilt — and the administration — accountable. Universities cannot ignore the law, and in an era of record deficits, the taxpayers should not be forced to fund institutions that so blatantly violate their students’ rights.  

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.

Most Popular

World

On Trade, No One Is Waiting for Washington

President Donald Trump’s flips and flops on trade are now as ubiquitous as his 5:00 a.m. tweets. Many predicted that trade-expansion efforts would come to a standstill and world commerce would suffer amidst all the uncertainty. Instead, the precise opposite has happened. In the last few months, it’s become ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Trump’s Syria Quandary

President Trump raised eyebrows recently when he ended a tweet lauding the airstrikes he’d ordered against chemical-weapons facilities in Syria with the words “mission accomplished.” The phrase, of course, became infamous in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, when President Bush used it in a speech ... Read More
U.S.

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More
PC Culture

People Are Losing Their Minds Over Starbucks

We can all easily imagine circumstances in which a manager of a coffee shop or restaurant might properly call the police to ask them to remove loiterers. These are places of business. There’s nothing wrong in principle with calling the cops on non-customers who are taking up space. And there’s nothing wrong ... Read More
PC Culture

The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down

By now the story is all over America. Earlier this month, two black men entered a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were apparently waiting for a friend before ordering — the kind of thing people do every day — and one of the men asked to use the restroom. A Starbucks employee refused, saying the restroom ... Read More