Catholic hospital can’t refuse gender transition surgery: court | U.S. News

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

A federal court ruled the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center broke the law by refusing to remove the uterus of a trans-identified patient due to the religious beliefs of the Institution, which is committed to Catholic principles while also being part of the public medical system.

A federal court ruled the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center broke the law by refusing to remove the uterus of a trans-identified patient due to the religious beliefs of the Institution, which is committed to Catholic principles while also being part of the public medical system.

U.S. District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow ruled Friday that the hospital violated the Affordable Care Act and discriminated against plaintiff Jesse Hammons, a biological female diagnosed with gender dysphoria, by refusing to conduct a planned hysterectomy (removal of the womb) because it doesn’t conduct those procedures to address gender dysphoria. 

The ruling acknowledged that St. Joseph’s policy is guided by the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s interpretation of Ethical and Religious Directives, which prohibits such procedures because they do not “conform to the true good of the human person, who is a body-soul union unalterably created male or female.”

Chasanow, a Clinton appointee, issued a summary judgment stating that the facility may not assert a defense based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it receives federal funds.

The hospital was purchased by the University of Maryland Medical System in 2012 with an agreement that the hospital would continue to “operate in a manner consistent with Catholic values and principles.” The hospital also has to comply with a “‘formal reporting mechanism’ to ensure St. Joseph is held accountable for its ‘Catholic identity.'” A representative of the Archdiocese of Baltimore serves on the hospital’s board. 

In 2019, UMMS scheduled Hammons for a hysterectomy after a doctor “determined that a hysterectomy was the proper treatment” for gender dysphoria. The procedure was scheduled for January 2020. Hammons was later informed that the hospital could not perform the procedure because it was for “gender transition.” Hammons rescheduled the surgery at another hospital after another round of pre-operative tests. The hysterectomy was completed in June 2020. 

The hospital and the UMMS are reviewing the judge’s decision.

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Catholic hospital can’t refuse gender transition surgery: court | U.S. News

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