Retaliation Because of Fight for Abortion Training Gets Doc Million Dollar Lawsuit Settlement
A $1.4 million dollar settlement was reached last week in this important case about a doctor's advocacy for reproductive rights.
Dr. Christopher Carey served for many years as both Chief of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Director of the Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Program at Maricopa County Hospital in Phoenix.
While in that position, Dr. Carey supported providing OB/GYN residents the opportunity to participate in abortion training if they so desired.
Carey also spoke out against the efforts of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and others who wanted to end those training opportunities.
As a result, Carey claimed he was harassed and retaliated against by the Board of Supervisors and other officials who:
- carried on an eighteen month campaign to force Carey out of his position
- spread false statements which damaged his reputation
- worked to block his re-appointment to the Medical Staff
- conducted multiple baseless investigations
- voted to remove him from his position at the hospital
Carey was terminated from his position in September of 2004.
Carey sued alleging that his Constitutional rights were violated under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and that he was discriminated against because of his religious and moral beliefs.
A settlement of $1.4 million dollars was announced on May 22nd by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges which represented Dr. Carey. The case was set to go to trial on June 23rd.
In an interview after the settlement, Dr. Carey said:
I am extremely pleased with the settlement, but it’s important to remember that the shortage of abortion providers in this country is extensive.
A resident’s ability to obtain abortion training is crucial to ensuring women receive quality health care when they need it.
No doubt Dr. Carey is a real champion on this very important and controversial issue. It's reassuring to many of us that Dr. Carey was vindicated.
In addition to the important principles concerning quality health care, and freedom free from discrimination and retaliation, there's a broader lesson to be learned from this case.
It was simply stated by Janet Crepps, deputy director of he U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights who said: "Personal politics have no place in medical care."
It's not often that we see cases which send this message -- let's hope it gets delivered.