A Catholic hospital is facing a lawsuit on claims that a doctor there refused to conduct a hysterectomy for a transgender patient.
The lawsuit was filed against St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, located in Paterson, NJ on January 5 in federal court. Jionni Conforti (33), whose biological sex is female but identifies as a man, said that the head nurse initially said that a hysterectomy can be performed there, but that a doctor and the director of missions at the hospital said one week later that they would not be able to perform the procedure.
According to the lawsuit, Father Martin Rooney, the director of missions at St. Joseph’s, emailed Conforti saying, “This is to follow up to your e-mail inquiring about scheduling a total hysterectomy here at St. Joseph’s to remove all female parts based on the medical necessity for Gender Reassignment. This is to inform you that as a Catholic Hospital we would not be able to allow your surgeon to schedule this surgery here at St. Joseph’s.”
Though Conforti had the procedure done at a different hospital three months thereafter, he said he “felt betrayed,” and “became deeply depressed,” according to the lawsuit. He “also became, and remains, anxious about visiting either SJRMC’s Paterson hospital or SJW — the two hospitals closest to his home — for medical care,” the lawsuit continues.
However, some say the lawsuit represents a breach to the Catholic hospital’s right to practice its religious freedom. Matt Sharp, a legal counsel from the Alliance Defending Freedom, told the Catholic News Agency that the lawsuit “involves whether a Catholic hospital can be compelled to perform a procedure that violates its sincerely-held religious beliefs.”
“Every hospital and physician should be free to make sound moral and ethical decisions as to the best treatments for their patients,” said Sharp. “There are serious questions about the long term results of so-called sex reassignment surgery. Whether based on their sincerely held religious beliefs or ethical considerations, hospitals and physicians should not be compelled to perform these procedures by legions of state or federal bureaucrats.”
The lawsuit states that the plaintiff seeks monetary damages, and for the court to require the Catholic hospital to provide all medical procedures necessary for gender dysphoria-related care.