A discrimination lawsuit has been filed in the case of a Catholic Maryland hospital unwilling to allow a transgender individual’s so-called medical “gender transition” to be performed there.
The suit alleges the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center acted in a discriminatory fashion when it canceled 33-year-old Jesse Hammons’ scheduled Jan. 6 hysterectomy, according to The Washington Post.
The incident follows closely on the heels of a Supreme Court decision in the cases of Bostock v. Clayton County and Altitude Express v. Zarda, which saw Republican-appointed Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch join the court’s liberal-leaning members in ruling that Title VII anti-discrimination provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act also serve to protect “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
Hammons’ suit cites the controversial 6-3 decision as precedent in support of allegations the hospital’s decision violated her 14th Amendment rights and other protections afforded under the Affordable Care Act.
A Catholic institution since its establishment in the 19th century, St. Joseph Medical Center was absorbed into the University of Maryland Medical System in 2012, according to the hospital’s website.
The terms of adoption laid out at the time allowed the hospital to continue operating under its longtime principles of faith-based community service and Christ-like patient care.
In a statement to The Western Journal, UMMS media director Michael Schwartzberg said St. Joseph Medical Center “abides by the 6th Edition of Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) for Catholic Health Care Services as outlined by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which provide authoritative guidance on certain health care issues and practices, including limitations on the removal of healthy organs.”
“UM SJMC does not discriminate nor treat any patient differently on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sexual orientation,” the statement read. “The health and safety of our patients is, and always will be, our highest priority. UM SJMC was built on a mission of loving service and compassionate care and we sincerely regret the hurt and frustration caused by this event.”
No further information was provided by the hospital regarding Hammons’ case as a result of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy protections.
The statement also made it clear that patients seeking services not offered at St. Joseph Medical Center as a result of the institution’s religious beliefs are welcome to seek care at other hospitals in the system.
Hammons was not satisfied with the policy.
“I felt like this hospital didn’t see any worth in my life and the care that I needed,” Hammons, a biological woman who identifies as a man, told The Post. “The University of Maryland St. Joseph’s should be caring for all of Maryland’s residents. We shouldn’t be denied based on who we are.”
Cited in her lawsuit as primary grounds for necessity of the procedure is its ability to slow creation of the female hormone estrogen in Hammons’ body, a modification that would supposedly improve the patient’s mental health by allowing her to live in closer physical alignment with her preferred gender.
According to analysis conducted by The Heritage Foundation, however, numerous comprehensive medical inquiries into the impacts of so-called gender transition on the mental health of transgender individuals indicate that gender reassignment surgery does not decrease suicide rates or increase long-term happiness among the selected population.
In fact, the Swedish Karolinska Institute’s 30-year study on the subject found that surgically reassigned transgender individuals in their research sample were 20 times more likely to commit suicide than their peers in the general population.
Regardless, Hammons has since undergone the procedure at another local hospital and reported positive changes to her mental health.
The recent precedent cited in Hammons’ lawsuit remains incredibly contentious, with conservatives incensed this June at Gorsuch’s majority opinion that “an employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex.
“Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas dissented.
“The Court tries to convince readers that it is merely enforcing the terms of the statute, but that is preposterous,” Alito wrote for the minority.
“Even as understood today, the concept of discrimination because of ‘sex’ is different from discrimination because of ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity.'”
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