A Vancouver social worker has launched a law suit in the B.C. Supreme Court against the Ministry of Human Resources. Cecilia Moore, 25, claims she was fired by the Ministry after she refused to approve funds for a welfare recipient’s abortion.
Moore, a Catholic, said she was fired by MHR at the end of a six-month probationary period last May when she refused to follow a supervisor’s order to issue and sign a form providing temporary MHR-sponsored medial coverage for abortion expenses for an applicant.
She said that the supervisor knew that the application did not comply with Ministry guidelines for assistance. She also said that the abortion would have been illegal since the applicant, a single woman, did not have a certificate from a Therapeutic Abortion Committee. In addition, the applicant’s doctor had said an abortion was “inappropriate.”
The published policy of Human Resources Minister Grace McCarthy, Moore’s statement said, is that temporary medical coverage must “only cover an individual suffering from acute illness.”
Moore said that “Pregnancy is neither acute nor an illness. The actual policy and practice of the minister, the deputy minister and social workers under their direction, is to furnish funds to aid and abet abortion as if pregnancy were an acute illness and as if it (abortions) were not prohibited by the Criminal Code.
Moore has named the deputy minister of MHR, John Nobel, and her ex-supervisor in her law suit. She is asking for damages and her job back. She is also asking for a court declaration that MHR policy on funding abortions is contrary to the Charter of Rights and the Criminal Code.
She has filed a grievance under the B.C. Government Employees Union contract, protesting her firing. But the union “declined to proceed with the grievance to arbitration” or to permit her to pursue it at her own expense.
In addition to the Supreme Court action, Moore has also filed a complaint under the Human Rights Act in which she alleges “discrimination because of religion.”