The U. S. Supreme Court has decline to hear the case of a Catholic hospital in California that is being sued for refusing to perform a hysterectomy on a woman who identifies as a transgender man.
A lawsuit was filed against Dignity Health by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of Evan Minton, a Sacramento-area woman who identifies as a man. Minton claims that Dignity Health broke state law by refusing to perform her hysterectomy when they found out that she is transgender and the hysterectomy is part of her transition process. Dignity Health’s Catholic hospitals only perform hysterectomies for life-threatening emergencies, not for sterilization or gender transition purposes.
The surgery was originally scheduled for August 30, 2016, but cancelled on the basis that the surgery contradicted Catholic ethics and the directives of the U. S. bishops for Catholic hospitals. As required by California law, Dignity Health did arrange for the surgery to take place at a Methodist hospital within 72 hours. However, Minton insists that Dignity Health cancelling her surgery has had a negative impact on her life. “Since Dignity Health turned me away for being transgender, I’ve had multiple medical emergencies and I can’t stand to go to my neighboring Dignity Hospital because of the discrimination I was put through. In one instance, I called my doctor and had them talk me through a procedure I performed on myself to avoid having to go into one of their hospitals.”
For its part, Dignity Health insists that to perform a procedure that is contrary to Catholic teaching would jeopardize their Catholic integrity. “In keeping with our Catholic faith, at our Catholic-sponsored care sites we do not offer certain services including sterilizing procedures such as hysterectomies to any patient regardless of gender identity, unless the patient has a life-threatening condition,” the Dignity Health hospital network said Nov. 1. “Courts have long recognized the right of faith-based providers to offer services that are consistent with their religious beliefs. Although the Supreme Court will not consider this important issue at this time, we plan to continue to pursue the case at the lower-court level.”
The lawsuit was originally dismissed by a San Francisco Superior Court on the grounds that Dignity Health followed the law in arranging for the surgery to take place at another hospital. Justice Stuart R. Pollock, however, at the appeals court, reversed that decision, ruling that the hospital’s initially failing to provide the surgery discriminated against Minton. Pollock wrote the burden state law puts on the exercise of religion (for the Catholic hospital to perform the procedure) is “justified by California’s compelling interest in ensuring full and equal access to medical treatment for all its residents.”
Think about what that means. Judge Pollock is agreeing, first of all, that a hysterectomy on a physically healthy woman constitutes “medical treatment” simply because the woman wants it done. There is no medically necessary reason for the hysterectomy. By anybody’s definition, this is elective surgery, not emergent, much less life-threatening, thus there is no particular urgency for the procedure to be performed at any particular time. The procedure is elective. When the procedure is performed is elective. There is no medical need for the procedure. It is being done only because the woman wants it done. Yet, it constitutes “medical treatment” that compels a Catholic hospital to provide for it against their religious principles?
Second, it’s ridiculous that Judge Pollock rules that California’s interest in “ensuring full and equal access to medical treatment for all its residents” compels a Catholic hospital to act contrary to Catholic principles. No hospital can provide all services to every patient, and Dignity Health ensured Minton’s access to medical treatment by following the law and arranging for another hospital to perform the surgery. California law provides that a Catholic hospital may reject a procedure contrary to Catholic principles if it arranges for the procedure to be performed elsewhere. But Judge Pollock is saying that that’s not enough. California law doesn’t satisfy his requirements. Pollock insists that the Catholic hospital perform the procedure. This is an example of legislating from the bench if ever there was one.
Finally, it must be said that the basis of Pollock’s ruling is that gender ideology is a real thing. In other words, it’s not that Evan Minton is suffering from a mental health disorder called gender dysphoria. It’s that, according to the law, Evan Minton really is a man trapped inside a woman’s body. The ruling only stands if we accept the notion that it’s possible for a man to be born into a woman’s body. Nature has made such a mess of things that it actually put a man inside a woman’s body, and society is obliged morally to release that man from the woman’s body by changing the woman’s body into a man’s body. This, of course, is metaphysically, as well as biologically, absurd. This is an example of normalizing mental illness. Rather than help Ms. Minton heal from her gender dysphoria and attain a healthy sexual identity, society has chosen to accommodate her gender dysphoria for political/social/cultural reasons. Not surprisingly, this rarely helps, as the research demonstrates. According to an article by Ryan Anderson, author of the book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” transition surgery does not have the benefits transgenders hope for. Anderson writes, “The most thorough follow-up of sex reassigned people—extending over 30 years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to 15 years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to 20 times that of comparable peers.” This doesn’t surprise me, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone. While surgery can change the outward sexual appearance of a person, it cannot change one’s DNA. And gender is determined by one’s DNA, not by one’s secondary sex characteristics. Hoping that changing one’s secondary sex characteristics will make one into the opposite sex is an illusion, and the frustration of realizing this after hormone therapy and surgery likely makes transgenders even more hopeless than before.
We are quickly turning into a society that believes that whatever a person wants that person should get, and the talents of our experts, medical, legal, academic, psychological, as well as every individual and institution regardless of personal worldview or principles of faith and morals, must accommodate these people, even if it means surrendering one’s institutional or personal integrity. Everything must be sacrificed on the altar of political/social/cultural accommodation.
The only appropriate response is resistance, no matter the cost. To accommodate will cost us more. It will cost us our souls.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.