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Supreme Court won’t consider case of Catholic hospital that denied transgender surgery

A Catholic hospital in California is being sued for refusing to perform a hysterectomy on a transgender patient. Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the case but another ruling gives the hospital hope.

The case goes back to state court for further proceedings because the high court’s decision lets stand an appellate court ruling allowing the plaintiff to proceed with a lawsuit against the hospital.  The lawsuit was filed in April 2017, one year after Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, Calif., refused to perform a hysterectomy on Evan Minton, a trans-identified female.

The hospital, one of six medical centers operated by its parent company, Dignity Health, concluded that performing the procedure would violate the ethical and religious directives for Catholic Health Care Services. The directives document was published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and features guidance for institutionally based Catholic healthcare services.

The original lawsuit argued that the refusal to perform the hysterectomy constitutes discrimination based on gender identity. Although the Catholic hospital refused to perform the procedure, the patient secured the procedure at another Dignity Health-affiliated hospital 30 miles away four days after the scheduled hysterectomy was canceled.

Although the nation’s high court declined to hear the case, the justices issued a decision in another case that is favorable to Catholic nuns and other Christian employers seeking exemption from a New York state law requiring employer-sponsored health-care plans to cover the cost of abortions.

The court vacated a lower court decision against religious groups and remanded the case back to the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division in light of its ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The June ruling found that Philadelphia could not exclude a Catholic charity from its foster program because the organization upholds policies that don’t allow children to be placed with same-sex couples.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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