A woman diagnosed with gender dysphoria can sue a Catholic hospital for refusing to surgically remove her uterus as part of the sex-reassignment process, despite the hospital’s religious objection to performing the operation, an appeals court in California ruled.
The ruling pits competing legal interests against each other, elevating civil rights concerns involving sexual orientation and gender identity over the right of religious institutions to adhere to their sincerely held beliefs in the provision of services.
The Court of Appeals of California ruled Sept. 17 in Minton v. Dignity Health that Dignity Health violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act by withholding the medical care that Evan Minton requested. The appeals court revived Minton’s lawsuit, sending it back for further consideration to San Francisco Superior Court, which previously dismissed the action.
Minton, who identifies as a man, had initiated hormone replacement therapy in 2012 and had a mastectomy in 2014, and intended to complete the hysterectomy before undergoing phalloplasty to complete the transition, Catholic News Agency reports.
Minton, who was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, claimed in the lawsuit that Sacramento-area Mercy San Juan Medical Center, operated by Dignity Health, canceled a scheduled hysterectomy when the patient told a nurse she identified as transgendered.
“The refusal of Dignity Health to allow a doctor to perform this common procedure simply because the patient is transgender is discriminatory,” Elizabeth Gill, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, said when the lawsuit was filed. “This is a hospital that is open to the general public, so it’s illegal for them to turn away someone based on gender identity.”
According to the appeals court, the hospital’s refusal to perform the operation as originally scheduled caused Minton “great anxiety and grief.” Minton “experienced a startling and painful notification that the surgery would not go forward” and the cancellation itself constituted “discrimination.”
But within 72 hours of the cancellation, Dignity Health arranged for Minton to have the surgery performed at a nearby non-Catholic hospital within the network. Minton had the surgery and sued anyway. more here