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Judge Rules Catholic Hospital Can Deny Sterilization Procedure

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 01/15/16

Details: 

A California Catholic hospital is not engaging in sex discrimination by denying a woman’s request for the sterilization procedure known as tubal ligation, a San Francisco judge said in a tentative ruling. Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith said in his decision Wednesday that Rebecca Chamorro could get the procedure at another hospital, and that Mercy Medical Center’s policy against sterilization on religious ground also applies to men. Health care provider Dignity Health, which operates Mercy Medical and 38 other hospitals in California, Nevada and Arizona, says the tubal ligation sought by Chamorro is not medically necessary and would violate the hospital’s right to freedom of religion. “The jurisprudence is unequivocal: A Catholic hospital may prohibit sterilization procedures that violate the core principles of the hospital’s faith,” attorneys for Dignity Health wrote in a court filing. Attorneys representing Chamorro in her lawsuit were set to appear before Goldsmith on Thursday to try to change his mind and issue a preliminary injunction. Chamorro’s suit is part of a growing clash over birth control and abortion health care coverage. Dozens of U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses, charities and colleges have sued in federal court over the contraceptive coverage required under the federal Affordable Care Act.

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