Woman Sues Religious Based Hospital for Refusing to Perform Transgender Surgery

A biological woman presenting as a transgender man is suing the University of Maryland Medical System and the Saint Joseph Medical Center in Towson, claiming she was discriminated against for being transgender when the hospital refused to perform a hysterectomy on her.

Jesse Hammons, a female, filed the suit July 16 in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, stating the medical institutions violated her First and Fourth Amendment rights and the Affordable Care Act when they canceled the hysterectomy a week before it was scheduled in January, according to the suit.

Hammons claimed the surgery was “medically necessary treatment relating to [her] diagnosis of gender dysphoria.”

As a Catholic hospital, Saint Joseph Medical Center abides by the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” a set of policies created by the U.S. Conference of Bishops on certain health care issues and practices. The directives prohibit the hospital from participating in “actions that are intrinsically immoral, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and direct sterilization,” according to the lawsuit.

In a July 17 statement, Michael Schwartzberg, media relations director for the University of Maryland Medical System, explained that any patient seeking care that is not available at Saint Joseph’s because of the directives can receive care at other UMMS hospitals.

And indeed, Hammons did have a hysterectomy at another hospital on June 24.

Just last month, Justice Samuel Alito warned that the Supreme Court’s decision that employment discrimination “on the basis of sex”—prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—should be understood to include actions based on sexual orientation and gender identity, would lead to an influx of religious liberty cases.

“Such claims present difficult religious liberty issues because some employers and health care providers have strong religious objections to sex reassignment procedures,” he wrote in his dissent, “ … and therefore requiring them to pay for or to perform these procedures will have a severe impact on their ability to honor their deeply held religious beliefs.”

“The battle that Alito worried about is here,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “ … Six activists on the Supreme Court think they’ve done Jesse a favor by ordering America to help her live as a man. But what about the hospitals that want to live as Christians? We need justices who will stand up and protect them.”

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