A woman in Sacramento who identifies as a transgender man is filing a lawsuit against a Catholic hospital for cancelling — and immediately working to reschedule — her hysterectomy.
Evan Minton, who was born female but identifies as male, reinstated the lawsuit after a California appeals court overturned a lower court ruling last week, according to the Catholic News Agency.
Minton was scheduled to undergo a procedure at Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael to remove her uterus, but the hospital canceled the procedure after learning the patient was transgender and pursuing the hysterectomy as part of treatment for gender dysphoria.
Dignity Health, the medical system that operates the hospital, arranged for Minton to move forward with the hysterectomy at Methodist Hospital in south Sacramento within 72 hours of the Catholic hospital’s cancellation, according to The Sacramento Bee. In fact, Minton’s surgeon, Dr. Lindsey Dawson, told The Bee that officials with Dignity Health assisted her in getting emergency privileges at Methodist so she could perform Minton’s surgery there.
Unhappy with the way the Catholic hospital handled the situation, Minton has argued the medical center violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act, a piece of California legislation that states businesses must offer full and equal treatment to all residents, regardless of sexual orientation or any other identifying characteristic.
The law, of course, also offers religious protection.
Dignity Health released a statement to local press, explaining the Catholic hospital doesn’t perform sterilizing procedures on any patient, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, because of the Catholic faith’s opposition to any form of birth control.
“Catholic hospitals do not perform sterilizing procedures such as hysterectomies for any patient regardless of their gender identity, unless there is a serious threat to the life or health of the patient,” the statement read. “Courts have repeatedly recognized the right of faith-based hospitals not to provide services based on their religious principles. … In this case, Mr. Minton was able to quickly receive the sought-after procedure at another nearby Dignity Health hospital that is not Catholic-affiliated.”
Nevertheless, the American Civil Liberties Union, whose legal team represented Minton, have mischaracterized the Catholic hospital’s reasoning for canceling and rescheduling Minton’s procedure:
In his decision last week, Justice Stuart Pollack likewise stated his belief the Catholic hospital specifically targeted Minton because she is a transgender male.
“Denying a procedure as treatment for a condition that affects only transgender persons supports an inference that Dignity Health discriminated against Minton based on his gender identity,” he said in his ruling.
David French, a conservative writer for National Review, argued last week liberal states “are attempting to use expansive nondiscrimination to coerce religious institutions to violate their religious principles as a condition for providing charitable or commercial services in their states.”
He urged the U.S. Supreme Court “to step up and draw a line in the sand,” adding governments should “encroach no farther on the constitutional liberty of religious institutions.”