Transgender patient sues Catholic hospital after refusing to perform hysterectomy

The Supreme Court allowed a transgender man to sue the Catholic hospital that refused to perform a hysterectomy on him when he transitioned from a woman. 

In 2016, Evan Minton, 35, went to Dignity’s Mercy San Juan Medical Center in the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael for a scheduled hysterectomy. He began his transition from a woman to a man in 2011, and it was finally time for one of the last steps before becoming the person he believes he is.

Credits: The Nation / Joanne Kim

However, the Catholic hospital refused to perform the procedure. Instead of respecting the patient’s decision, they called it an “elective sterilization.” The medical center even claimed the procedure was against their ethical and religious obligations.

After being turned down by Dignity’s Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Evan went to another hospital where he eventually got the surgery. Following his unpleasant encounter with the Catholic hospital, he sued them under a California discrimination law, Daily Mail reports.

Although the hospital appealed against the lawsuit, the Supreme Court rejected their plea. 

The affected man filed his lawsuit in 2016, shortly after the incident. Later the same year, a trial judge ruled against him. But in 2019, a California appeals court sided with Evan, rejecting the Catholic medical center’s argument that the procedure was against their religious beliefs.

At the time, the hospital told the court:

“This case poses a profound threat to faith-based health care institutions’ ability to advance their healing ministries consistent with the teachings of their faith.”

According to previously mentioned court filings, Evan’s hysterectomy was ruled as “medically necessary” to treat gender dysphoria. The American Psychiatric Association defines this condition as “psychological distress” caused by a conflict between a person’s gender identity and sex assigned at birth.

Moreover, it was revealed that the hospital that refused to execute the surgery routinely performs hysterectomies on non-transgender patients to treat other issues, such as chronic pelvic pain or uterine fibroids.

After the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, Evan stated:

“I hope Dignity Health will finally take responsibility for what they did to me and what they continue to do. I applaud transgender Californians and people across the country who are sharing their denial of care experiences.”

“We deserve health care, we deserve restroom access, we deserve to play on sports teams, we deserve better.”

He continued:

“With my community by my side, I look forward to carrying on in this fight for justice.”

Dignity Health claimed it stands “against discrimination of all kinds.” The hospital added:

“[We regret] that Mr. Minton’s hysterectomy was incorrectly scheduled at one of our facilities that does not provide the service he needed.”

However, they would continue litigating the case in lower courts.

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