“What the plaintiff was requesting is not medicine”

For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (July 28, 2020)

Catholic hospitals, and their ability to practice medicine in accordance with biology, faith, and morality, are coming under attack. A person who identifies as a transgender male has sued the University of Maryland Medical System and its St. Joseph Medical Center for not performing a hysterectomy, a medical procedure that removes a woman’s uterus. Similarly, last year the California Court of Appeals authorized a lawsuit against Dignity Health for essentially the same reason. These cases illustrate threats to religious liberty and to medical care itself caused by the movement to dismiss biological sex and instead emphasize gender identity as a changeable social construct. Biological sex is not only a fundamental, unchangeable quality of every person, it is also a vital fact for medical diagnosis, care and medical research in many circumstances. Attempting to coerce Catholic hospitals to perform transgender procedures not only violates the rights of the hospital but is also bad for medical care.

Jordan Buzza, J.D., Director of CMF CURO, expressed: “We sincerely hope that the Supreme Court’s holding in Bostock will not be extended to permit suits against Catholic hospitals that follow their faith under the protection of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Catholic Church is the largest private provider of medicine in the United States, and such suits would threaten the medical care of millions, particularly for the poor and marginalized. Furthermore, the Catholic position regarding treatment for those with gender dysphoria is made in good faith and is genuinely seeking the best outcome for the individual.”

Michael Vacca, Esq., Director of Ministry, Bioethics, and Member Experience for the Christ Medicus Foundation and CMF CURO affirmed: “While the plaintiff in the University of Maryland case alleges discrimination due to being transgendered, that is factually incorrect. The reason that the medical system refused to perform the hysterectomy is because there was no medical pathology present. If the plaintiff had uterine cancer, for example, the medical system would have performed the hysterectomy regardless of the plaintiff’s gender identity. What the plaintiff was requesting is not medicine, but an elective procedure to remove a perfectly healthy uterus. This removal of healthy, functional organs from the human body is not clinically appropriate for any patient, even patients with gender dysphoria. In Catholic teaching, such an operation is sinful and cooperation with this action would make the Catholic health care institution formally complicit in moral evil.”

Louis Brown, Esq., Executive Director of the Christ Medicus Foundation said: “Catholic doctors, nurses, and hospitals should not be forced into a false choice between living out their deepest religious convictions, which galvanize them to care for others, or providing services that violate those convictions and are not true medical care.” He elaborated, “the Catholic worldview is based on faith and reason – from biology to physics to philosophy – and teaches that each person is created in the image and likeness of God, consequently has inviolable dignity, and is therefore worthy of love and respect. Our brothers and sisters who have gender dysphoria are owed our love and profound respect for their human dignity. The desire of Catholics to love and care for those with gender dysphoria arises from the Catholic religious conviction that all of God’s people are obligated to have their life, dignity, and health protected from conception to natural death.” He continued, expanding on the role of religious freedom in health care, “It is the fundamental right of religious freedom of Catholic doctors, nurses, and hospitals to care for all of God’s people consistent with their religious convictions that are the very foundation of their ability to love and care for others. Unfortunately, gender transitioning, sex-reassignment surgery and related hormonal therapies are not medical care and also gravely violate Catholic beliefs about the human person.”