Jill Stanek, the nurse who revealed two years ago that newborns who were alive after abortions in her hospital were left to die without medical care, has been fired. The hospital has not specified the reason for her termination.

Stanek, a labor and delivery nurse for six years at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, says she was fired for criticizing the facility's abortion policies.

Stanek has twice testified before congressional committees. Since going public against such abortion practices, Stanek has spearheaded protests and prayer vigils outside the hospital and has appeared on national television and radio programs. A hospital spokesman said the August firing is not related to Stanek's views but did not return calls for comment.

Stanek's lawyer, Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, says the firing was designed to silence Stanek. Staver says the hospital accused Stanek of making "false, defamatory, and misleading statements" this summer when she testified before Congress and again when she was interviewed on Jerry Falwell's Listen America program.

"They retaliated against her for her public exposure for what she reasonably believed was illegal activity," says Staver, who is planning to challenge Stanek's firing as wrongful termination.

Under a 1981 Illinois Supreme Court decision, whistleblowers who "reasonably believe a crime is occurring" are protected under the law from retaliatory discharge, Staver said. Under Illinois law, it is a crime to deny medical care to babies who are born showing signs of life.

Stanek has often recounted her experience of having to watch the death of an aborted premature baby who had Down syndrome ("Lives Measured in Minutes," CT, Nov. 13, 2000). Stanek says physicians caused ...

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