The Corner

Health Care

Another Catholic Hospital Sued for Refusing Transgender Hysterectomy

Empty patient beds in a Maryland hospital, March 18, 2020 (Rosem Morton/Reuters)

It is open season on Catholic hospitals as secularists try to coerce these institutions to violate Church doctrine in the provision of medical services.

The most notable examples are transgendered persons suing when Catholic hospitals refuse to remove healthy organs as part of sexual-reassignment surgery. The California courts authorized a lawsuit against Dignity Health for discrimination in this regard, which I consider the most important religious-freedom case pending in the country. And now a new federal lawsuit has been filed in Maryland. From the Baltimore Sun story:

A Baltimore man has filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Maryland Medical System and its St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, claiming he was discriminated against for being transgender when the hospital refused to perform his hysterectomy.

Jesse Hammons filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland stating the medical institutions violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights and the Affordable Care Act when they canceled the hysterectomy, a treatment for gender dysphoria, a week before it was scheduled in January, according to the suit.

Let’s stay out of the pronoun question and get right to the religious-liberty chase.

  • The surgery was not refused because the patient was transgender. Rather, administrators said no because it would have removed a healthy organ. Catholic moral principles only permit body parts to be removed to treat physical pathology. If the patient’s uterus had been cancerous, the surgery would not have been a problem. By the way, the answer would have been the same if a man identified as an amputee and wanted his arm amputated. (This is a real condition known as Body Identity Integrity Disorder — now often called “transable” for obvious advocacy reasons.)
  • The surgery was also refused because it would have sterilized the patient. Had a woman requested the hysterectomy as a means of ensuring she didn’t have children, she would have been refused too — and for the same reason. Ditto a man seeking a vasectomy.

Secularists may not understand it, but they should hope this case collapses. Catholic hospitals supplement already strained public-health systems. Many Catholic hospitals will close before being forced to practice medicine in ways that violate Catholic doctrine. That could leave a lot of communities with reduced access to quality health care.

Medicine is becoming a major front in the accelerating attacks on religious liberty in this country. The assault against medical conscience can only exacerbate our bitter cultural divisions already at the ripping point.


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