Judge Rules Catholic Hospital Discriminated Against Transgender Individual By Not Offering Sex-Change Surgery

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Sarah Weaver Social Issues Reporter
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A federal judge ruled Friday that a Catholic hospital discriminated against a biologically female patient seeking sex-change surgery in 2019.

University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center had refused to perform a hysterectomy on Jesse Hammons, prompting the individual to sue the hospital under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Hammons had scheduled the hysterectomy with obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Steven Adashek before Dr. Gail Cunningham, the hospital’s chief medical officer, informed Adashek that the St. Joseph could not perform a “transgender surgery,” according to court documents. Hammons rescheduled his hysterectomy for June 2020 at a different hospital. (RELATED: Pregnancy Center Hires Private Investigator To Track Down Pro-Choice Activists Who Firebombed Building)

“Upon review of the parties’ statements of undisputed facts and the exhibits to their motions, the undisputed facts establish that the cancellation was discrimination on the basis of sex because it was pursuant to a policy against providing gender-affirming care — a policy that in practice permits all patients to obtain doctor-recommended, medically necessary hysterectomies, except transgender patients seeking treatment for gender dysphoria,” Judge Deborah K. Chasanow wrote.

The hospital told the Daily Caller in a statement that they had offered to perform the hysterectomy at a different location, and that the legal battle was due to a scheduling error.

“This legal claim stems directly from, and is traceable to, a surgeon mistakenly scheduling a procedure that could not be performed at UM SJMC,” the hospital said. “Although our offer to perform gender affirming surgery at a different location was declined by Mr. Hammons, the University of Maryland Medical System remains committed to meeting the unique medical needs of transgender individuals and patients who are routinely scheduled by physicians for appointments and procedures at UMMS member organizations.”

The hospital explained that, of the 11 hospitals in the UMMS, “only SJMC follows the Catholic principles.” The others have policies that permit sex-change surgeries.

St. Joseph also said the hospital disagrees with certain aspects of the ruling, and is carefully reviewing the court’s claims.

“The University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and the University of Maryland Medical System are carefully reviewing the decision from Judge Chasanow,” the statement read. “We dispute many of the conclusions that were reached in this decision and may be in a position to comment further after additional analysis of the ruling.”