Trans man sues Catholic hospital that refused him healthcare because staff found it ‘immoral’
A trans man is taking legal action against a Catholic hospital in Mayland, US, after staff refused him healthcare because they found it “immoral”.
Jesse Hammons is suing the University of Maryland Medical System and the Saint Joseph Medical Center in Towson for violation of his First and Fourth Amendment constitutional rights and his rights under the Affordable Care Act, a plank of healthcare policy in the nation.
Hammons visited the hospital after his physician recommended he undergo a hysterectomy to treat his gender dysphoria.
An administrator told Hammons that gender dysphoria does not qualify as a medical issue demanding treatment, according to the lawsuit filed last Thursday (16 July).
Hospital staff therefore refused to perform the routine procedure, regularly executed on cis women, because it “would violate Catholic religious doctrine, as announced in the Catholic directives”, it continues.
The suit states that under the directives, Catholic healthcare organisations do not allow staff to participate in “actions that are intrinsically immoral, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and direct sterilisation”.
The hospital, purchased by the University of Maryland Medical System in 2012, is run by the Catholic Health Initiatives, a faith-based healthcare network. An agreement made with the Archdiocese of Baltimore means that healthcare providers at the hospital must follow Catholic guidelines.
University of Maryland Medical System officials stressed to the Union Bulletin that its staff do not discriminate.
Trans man refused surgery for gender dysphoria represented by ACLU.
Coming at a time when Trump officials are overseeing a harsh rollback of healthcare for trans people, Hammons is seeking to contest a view that US president Donald Trump is increasingly seeking to wire into law – that religious belief trumps LGBT+ lives.
“Discrimination is not a part of religious liberty,” said Reverand Lura Groen, Hammons’ wife.
“As Jesse’s spouse, I see the pain discrimination — and the fear of discrimination — causes on a daily basis.
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“As a faith leader and taxpayer, I am appalled that this act was done at a government institution and in the name of religion.”
Hammons is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has led much of the legal resistance against the Trump administration.
University of Maryland Medical System officials said that patients seeking care not available at Saint Joseph due to the directives can instead seek care at the network’s other hospitals, emphasising its trans health programme for youth.
The hospital follows the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Service, a set of guidelines formed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The University of Maryland Medical System allowed the hospital to continue to follow the directives as a condition of its purchase.