Take Me to My Abortion Now, Driver

Sasha Brown-Worsham
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A bus driver in Texas wouldn't. He claims he was fired for "religious reasons" after refusing service to a woman headed to Planned Parenthood.

Buried deep down in the CNN story is the fact that this bus service is in a very rural area and often provides door-to-door service.

The driver was Edwin Graning, an ordained Christian minister:

"It's only because he voiced his religions beliefs that he was canned," Edward White III, Graning's lawyer, told CNN. "Employers have a legal responsibility to at least attempt to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs ... the bus company clearly violated Mr. Graning's religious freedom."

This creates quite the dilemma.

I would never compel a child to say the Pledge of Allegiance if it were against their religious beliefs. I would never say a man should work a full day in the field without breaks for prayer if his religion mandated it. And I would never think that someone should have to perform a task that was at odds with their religion.

This is all true, despite the fact that I'm not even a bit religious. On the other hand, I agree with the bus company, called CARTS:

"While others may wish to make more of it, to CARTS this is just about our expectation that employees perform the duties they are hired for," David Marsh, general manager of CARTS, said in an email message to CNN.

Moreover, I think if you're going to be a pharmacist (some of whom refuse to give birth control to women) or a bus driver with strong religious beliefs, you had better be prepared to do some things with which you don't necessarily agree.

Like it or not, abortion is legal in this country and this woman wasn't even going to get an abortion necessarily. She may have just been going for advice about a pregnancy or other health-related reasons.

What gives this man the right to value his beliefs and moral judgments over hers?

In the end, I'm with the company. They hired him to perform a task he couldn't perform. The end. That is what firing is all about. Unlike a child in public school with the Pledge, he isn't compelled to be there. He's an employee at will, presumably. Therefore, bye-bye.

Do you agree this man should have been fired for refusing to drive this woman to her abortion?


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