Sudhin Thanawala, Associated Press, wrote:
Ordering a Catholic hospital in California to perform a tubal ligation sterilization procedure on a woman would violate its religious freedom, a San Francisco judge ruled Thursday.
“Religious-based hospitals have an enshrined place in American history and its communities, and the religious beliefs reflected in their operation are not to be interfered with by courts at this moment in history,” Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith said while finalizing his previous tentative ruling.
The decision came after Rebecca Chamorro, 33, filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction that would require Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California, to perform the procedure after she delivered her third baby.
The line between church and state has been drawn on several issues, but, when the Affordable Care Act was passed, another issue surfaced: can the government force privately held businesses and hospitals to perform procedures or offer medical coverage that conflicts with the business’ or facility’s beliefs?
The Hobby Lobby ruling from 2015 made it clear privately held businesses could opt out of covering birth control if it violated the company’s freedom of religion. Another verdict from this week reinforced this decision.
Following her cesarean section, Rebecca Chamorro requested a tubal ligation. Her surgeon agreed, but consented the facility before the procedure. The Catholic hospital in California, Mercy Medical, refused to let procedure happen in its facility. Chamorro sued the facility on the grounds of sex discrimination.
The court ruled the hospital did not have to perform the procedure, and the patient could go elsewhere for the sterilization. It stated since men could also not be sterilized, it was not sex discrimination.
Chamorro’s attorneys included representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union. Elizabeth Gill, with the ACLU of Northern California, wrote a column on the group’s website discussing the case when the lawsuit was filed in late December 2015.
She said: “The refusal of hospitals to allow doctors to perform basic health procedures based solely on religious doctrine presents a real threat to a woman’s ability to access health care. Patients seeking medical care from public institutions should not have to worry that religious doctrine rather than medical judgment will dictate what care they receive.”
What do you think? Should facilities be able to choose what care they will and will not provide based on its religious beliefs? Comment below or reach out to me at Rebecca.Rudolph@advantagemedia.com.
Filed Under: Industry regulations