A Northern Virginia nurse practitioner sued CVS Health Wednesday, claiming her employer fired her for declining to provide abortion-inducing medication citing religious beliefs.
The lawsuit, filed in Prince William County Circuit Court, states that for the first three years of Paige Casey’s employment, she was given a religious accommodation allowing her to refuse to prescribe or administer abortion-causing drugs.
Casey, who worked at the MinuteClinic in Alexandria since 2018, submitted a CVS Health’s Request for Religious Belief or Practice Accommodation form in 2019, according to the suit.
The form stated that “as a practicing Roman Catholic, she is prohibited from prescribing or facilitating the use of a drug or device that prevents or can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.”
The company granted her the accommodation and did not require Casey to prescribe or administer hormonal contraception or any other abortion-causing drug or device.
However, in August 2021, the company announced it “would no longer accommodate employees with religious convictions against prescribing abortifacients, hormonal contraceptives, and other forms of birth control that can cause abortions.”
In January 2022, the company sent a letter to Casey explicitly informing her that it would no longer accommodate her religious beliefs.
According to the suit, company officials notified Casey of her termination on March 29– the same day she emailed company officials to reassert her religious convictions against prescribing the drugs.
Conservative nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Casey. In a news release, the organization said CVS violated Virginia’s Conscience Clause, which “prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who refuse to participate in providing abortifacients because of their religious or ethical beliefs.”
Michael DeAngelis, a spokesperson with CVS Health, told InsideNoVa that it has a well-defined process for employees to request and be granted reasonable accommodations for their religious beliefs, but it’s impossible to give accommodations that exempt employees from performing the essential functions of their job.
“As we continue to enhance our MinuteClinic services, educating and treating patients regarding sexual health matters – including pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infection prevention, screening and treatment, and safer sex practices – have become essential job functions of our providers and nurses,” DeAngelis said.
Casey is seeking $100,000 in compensatory damages (including lost wages, front pay and back pay), punitive damages and nominal damages.
The case was filed in Prince William County because the defendant "regularly conduct[s] substantial business activity" there, according to the lawsuit.