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Physician Assistant Fired for Refusing to Use Patient’s Preferred Pronouns

Garrett Wedemire

A veteran physician assistant was fired in Michigan for adhering to her Christian beliefs.

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PA Valerie Kloosterman was fired after 17 years for telling Michigan Health she would not comply with the administration of gender-changing drugs or assist with gender-changing surgery.

Should anyone be fired for their religious beliefs?

“These are very mainline beliefs here,” Todd Starnes said Tuesday.

During a new training module done online, Kloosterman came to a part that asked her to affirm some questions about sex, gender, and transgenderism. Kloosterman was not able to continue with these questions, because of her faith and longtime standing as a member of the United Reform Church.

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Kloosterman believes that “God created man and woman and that a person’s sex is ordained by God, not Facebook, that a person should love and care for the body that God gave him or her, and that one should not attempt to either erase or alter his or her sex through drugs or surgical means.”

Even after almost two decades of being a model physician’s assistant, Kloosterman was fired based on her beliefs on transgenderism.

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First Liberty announced in a press release they will be suing Michigan Health if they don’t make this right for violating several laws, including the First Amendment.

Listen to Todd Starnes Talk About The Story On His Show Below:

Read the Full Press Release Below:

Grand Rapids, MI—First Liberty Institute sent a demand letter to the University of Michigan Health – West and the University of Michigan Health (collectively, “Michigan Health”) on behalf of Valerie Kloosterman, a physician assistant terminated after she sought a religious accommodation from referring patients for sex-obscuring procedures and experimental drugs, and from using biology-obscuring pronouns. 

“It’s bad medicine to force religious health care professionals to choose between their faith and their job,” said Jordan Pratt, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Valerie provides excellent medical care for every patient, but she cannot in good conscience refer patients for experimental drugs and procedures that violate both her religious convictions and her medical judgment. Nor can she use biology-obscuring pronouns that violate her religious beliefs and could cause patients to miss potentially life-saving screenings. It is intolerant of Michigan Health to demand that medical professionals like Valerie abandon their religious beliefs and their medical ethics in order to remain employed.” 

As the third generation in her family to work in her local health care system, Kloosterman served her community for 17 years at Michigan Health.  She regularly received exemplary reviews, and supervisors called her “professional,” “very ethical,” and a “pleasure to work with.”  She treated all her patients respectfully, regardless of their background, sexual orientation, or declared gender.  In summer 2021, after mandatory “diversity and inclusion” training, she asked for a religious accommodation because she could not affirm statements about transgender medical procedures, nor could she participate by referring patients for sex-obscuring surgeries or using pronouns that conflicted with human biology.  During follow-up meetings, a Michigan Health diversity representative called Kloosterman “evil,” blamed her for gender dysphoria-related suicides, and told her she could not take the Bible or her religious beliefs to work with her.  Less than a month later, she was fired.

In their letter, First Liberty attorneys explain why Michigan Health violated several laws that protect religious conscience, including the First Amendment: “Michigan Health’s decisionmakers expressed even more blatantly unconstitutional religious animus against Ms. Kloosterman than the religious animus that the [Supreme] Court sharply condemned in Masterpiece Cakeshop.” Michigan Health also violated the Free Exercise Clause “when it accommodated the independent medical judgment of other providers but not the religious beliefs or medical judgment of Ms. Kloosterman.” For example, other doctors could refuse to prescribe opioids or diet pills without making referrals because of their personal beliefs and their medical judgment—but not Ms. Kloosterman when it came to her religious beliefs and her medical judgment concerning far less commonly requested drugs and procedures.

The following is a rush transcript from the Todd Starnes Show which airs daily from noon to 3:00 p.m. EST.

TODD STARNES: [00:04:50] We have a story up on the website. Just popped into us from our friends over at First Liberty Institute. And it involves a crazy, crazy incident at a health center, the University of Michigan Health, they’re basically a collection of hospitals all over the state of Michigan. So there’s a lady there. Her name is Valerie Kloosterman. And Valerie Kloosterman has been a physician’s assistant for, what, 17 years? And she has been an employee in good standing for a good many of those years, actually, all of them. She’s never gotten a bad review. She’s never been disciplined, as a matter of fact. I mean, a lot of the letters of recommendation come from her bosses. They’ve been praising her for going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to taking care of patients. So anyway, last year she said, hey, look, we’ve got to have you do this, this training module, so you got to take those things online. And so that’s what she did as she was taking this training module. And then it came to a couple of questions regarding sex and gender and transgenderism. And so she was not able to complete that portion because she was being told she had to affirm things that she believed not to be true. Now, it turns out that Mrs. Kloosterman is a Christian. She is also a longtime member of the United Reformed Church. She believes God created man and woman and that a person’s sex is ordained by God, not Facebook, that a person should love and care for the body that God gave him or her, and that one should not attempt to either erase or alter his or her sex through drugs or surgical means. These are her religious beliefs. By the way, dear, I. May I step out on a limb here, ladies and gentlemen, and suggest that most of us in the world, not just the US, but the world, actually believe, like Mrs. Kloosterman. Can I go that far? So let’s continue here. So anyway, she believes she has all of these beliefs about sex and gender that she got from her religion. And by the way, these are very mainline beliefs here. So anyway, she said that she also believes it would be sinful to assist a patient in procuring sterilized drugs or surgical procedures that would alter someone’s sex. In other words, she believes it’s a sin to chop off your private parts. Again, I suspect a lot of people in this audience agree with Miss Kloosterman. So anyway, she gets hauled into HR. You knew this was coming. And, man, do they grill her? I mean, up one side and down the other. And they demand to know if she would use let’s say Gladys comes in for a procedure. Gladys once wants to have a lady operation, and it turns out that Gladys is really Gary. They asked her, would she would honor that person’s preferred gender and preferred pronouns. And she said, No, I can’t do that. I cannot do that respectfully. I cannot do that again. A 17-year employee here. So anyway, they go on and on and on and she’s meeting with I mean, they are, but it’s almost like she was like stealing drugs and giving the drugs away on the street. I mean, that’s the level of intrigue here. So then they asked her whether she would use again, gender identity-based pronouns, and if would she be willing to refer patients for gender reassignment surgery. And she said, No, I cannot do that. I cannot do that. So the H.R. people actually got hostile and angry and they had tightened fit. They tightened their fist and they attacked her religious beliefs. And they told Mrs. Kloosterman that she could not take the Bible or her religious beliefs to work, either literally or figuratively. And they said that her belief that transgenderism goes against her, and her religious beliefs were evil. Yes. I said it, evil. Evil. That’s what they said. Evil. And they said she was abusing her power as a health care provider. It goes on and on and on. The complaint here and by the way, first Liberty Institute is now representing this lady. But they fired the woman. 17 years stellar record, but she refused to comply with transgender body mutilation. And they fired her. I mean, this is appalling, ladies and gentlemen. There’s a woman not in Berkeley, California, not a New York City, not in Chicago. She’s in Michigan. She had no idea that she was going to land right smack in the middle of a major culture war fight. But here she is. And it’s ugly. It is absolutely ugly. First Liberty Institute says this is a violation of the Constitution. You can’t do this. And they’re giving Michigan health an opportunity to make this right. And if not, they’re going to sue the living daylights out of her. And I hope they do. But you better believe all of us are going to be called it just like in the the the Old Testament when you got Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar. Here in America, you got to bow down to the transgender drag queens. I mean, that’s the reality of life in America right now. What was just, I don’t know, a few years ago, considered to be outrageous behavior. Outlandish behavior is now settled science in the medical community. I mean, they really do believe that there is a right for nine and ten-year-olds to chop off their private parts. And mommy and daddy, you don’t have a say over this. So I really hope that you pay attention to what’s happening here with folks like Mrs. Kloosterman because she is an American patriot. This lady’s not looking for the spotlight. She’s not looking for the limelight. She was just going to do her job, as she has done for 17 years. And the sex and gender revolutionaries came after her. They’re coming after all of us. Just all of us. [00:12:08][438.4]

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