Catholic Hospital: Legal fight against “sex change”

Catholic Hospital: Legal fight against “sex change”
A participant holds a rainbow coloured placard during Delhi Queer Pride Parade, an event promoting gay, lesbian, bisexual and...

A highly respected hospital in northern New Jersey faces lawsuit after a woman alleges discrimination based on sex and gender identity.

St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey is well respected and leading in healthcare. Symbols of their Catholic foundation and faith are very visible through the hallways and in cases clergy members walk throughout visiting with patients. The hospital is now facing legal suit for discrimination after a woman alleges they refused to perform a  hysterectomy as part of a “gender reassignment.”

Gay legal advocacy organization Lambda Legal filed suit January 5 against St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, its parent health system, and the priest in charge of pastoral care and patient relations. They are alleging discrimination based on sex and gender identity. Citing federal and state law, the lawsuit alleges the hospital and Father Martin Rooney denied Jionni Conforti “medically necessary treatment”. The suit also indicates that Conforti's “emotional distress and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, emotional pain and anguish, is a violation of dignity, and loss of enjoyment of life.”

LifeSiteNews reports that Conforti had been scheduled for a complete hysterectomy in 2015. Her lawsuit says she was initially told by the head nurse in charge of surgery that she could have the procedure, but was later told by a hospital administrator that her surgeon could not perform the hysterectomy because the hospital was Catholic.         

“I felt completely disrespected,” Conforti said, according to the Associated Press. “That’s not how any hospital should treat any person regardless of who they are.”

In a statement provided to LifeSiteNews, St. Joseph’s Healthcare System said the hospital follows the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) promulgated in 2009 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center is a leading Catholic healthcare institution serving one of the most diverse and underserved populations in New Jersey,” it said. “The Medical Center follows the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services in making decisions about care and treatment.”  

The ERD’s are guiding principles for Catholic hospitals to ensure they operate in line with Catholic teaching. The Directive governing sterilization procedures states:

Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution. Procedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available.

Mental health experts have stated that “gender reassignment” is not likely to alleviate genderdysphoria and will generally result in leaving the gender-confused person with negative effects and regret.

Conforti claims that she does not want other transgender people to go through what she did because she was shocked, confused and hurt. The lawsuit papers also state, 

“Jionni has suffered emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, and a loss of dignity at the hands of St. Joseph’s Healthcare—who purportedly pride themselves on providing health care with a “patients first” approach,” it says. “St. Joseph’s Healthcare’s discriminatory actions are also contrary to the SJHS Patient Bill of Rights, which expressly entitles all patients to “treatment and medical services without discrimination based on . . . sex, . . . [and] gender identity or expression.”

LifeSiteNews article / TRUNEWS summary.

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