News and Commentary

ACLU Sues Catholic Hospital On Behalf of Transgender ‘Man’ Who Wanted A Hysterectomy

Dignity Health’s Mercy San Juan Medical Center, a Catholic hospital based in Sacramento, California, faces a lawsuit from the leftist American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over its refusal to perform a hysterectomy on a transgendered individual. Evan Michael Minton, a 35-year-old woman who says she’s a man, wanted to have her vagina removed as part of the transition. The ACLU filed the lawsuit yesterday.

The lawsuit claims that the hospital violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act by denying Minton’s surgery because she identifies as transgender. The hospital said the following in response to threats of the lawsuit last week: “We do not provide elective sterilizations at Dignity Health’s Catholic facilities in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) and the medical staff bylaws.”

This legal battle could produce a major religious liberties case similar to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, in which the Supreme Court held that a private corporation that holds religious values cannot be forced by the government to provide health benefits for contraception. However, the Mercy San Juan Medical Center case would question whether a private hospital with specific religious values has protection under the First Amendment in refusing service to an individual who seeks a hysterectomy.

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