BALTIMORE, Md. — A woman in Maryland who identifies as a man has filed suit against a Catholic hospital for canceling a scheduled hysterectomy due to its religious convictions.
“An instrumentality of the state may not operate a Catholic hospital or deny medical care to transgender patients based on Catholic religious beliefs. By invoking Catholic religious doctrine as a basis for canceling … Hammons’ medically necessary surgery, defendants violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” the lawsuit states.
According to the legal challenge, the complainant, who goes by the name Jesse Hammons, was scheduled to have a hysterectomy at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in January. Hammons is “married” to Lura Groen, who leads Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Columbia.
However, the hospital — a Roman Catholic facility that was acquired by the University of Maryland in 2012 while retaining its religious nature — canceled the surgery, citing adherence to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs).
“Approximately 7–10 days before … Hammons’ surgery was scheduled to take place, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center’s Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, Gail Cunningham, ordered the surgery canceled. Dr. Cunningham told … Hammons’s surgeon that he could not perform … Hammons’ hysterectomy because the surgery conflicted with the hospital’s Catholic religious beliefs and the Catholic Directives,” the legal challenge outlines.
“Dr. Cunningham also told … Hammons’ surgeon that performing the hysterectomy and removing an otherwise healthy organ would violate the Catholic Directives’ command to preserve the ‘functional integrity’ of the human body.”
Hammons consequently had to schedule the procedure elsewhere — and six months later. The lawsuit states that Hammon had to ungergo testing all over again prior to the surgery and the postponement prolonged her anxiety in mentally preparing for the operation.
“Hammons felt that [she] was being told [her] health and well-being were not worthy of being protected, and [she] felt angry that the hospital — which is part of [her] own state government — was using other people’s religious beliefs to deny him the medical treatment [she] needed,” the complaint outlines.
It alleges a violation of the Establishment Clause to the United States Constitution, as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
“Defendants did not cancel … Hammons’s surgery based on a generally applicable policy of not performing hysterectomies. Defendants would not have canceled … Hammons’s hysterectomy if the surgery had been prescribed as medically necessary treatment for a condition other than gender dysphoria,” the lawsuit argues.
“Because gender transition inherently transgresses gender stereotypes, denying medically necessary coverage based on whether surgery is part of gender transition constitutes impermissible discrimination based on gender nonconformity,” it states.
The University of Maryland Medical System is a private, non-profit organization, but it receives state funding and its board members are appointed by the governor.
“As a faith leader and taxpayer, I am appalled that this act was done at a government institution and in the name of religion,” Groen told reporters. “Discrimination is not a part of religious liberty.”
As previously reported, while some view transgenderism as a medical condition, Christians believe the matter is also, at its root, a spiritual issue — one that stems from the same predicament all men everywhere face without Christ.
The Bible teaches that all are born with the Adamic sin nature, having various inherent feelings and inclinations that are contrary to the law of God, and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves.
It is why Jesus came: to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Scripture outlines that Jesus came to be the propitiation for men’s sins (1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10), a doctrine in Christianity known as substitutionary atonement, and to save men from the wrath of God for their violations against His law (Romans 4:25, Romans 5:9, Romans 5:16), a doctrine known as justification.
The Bible also teaches about regeneration, as in addition to sparing guilty men from eternal punishment, Christ sent his Holy Spirit to make those who would repent and believe the gospel new creatures in the here and now, with new desires and an ability to do what is pleasing in the sight of God by His indwelling and empowerment (Ezekiel 11:19, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Titus 3:5).
Jesus said that men must be born again, and have their very nature transformed by the Spirit from being in Adam to being in Christ, or they cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-8).
Ephesians 4:17-24 also exhorts regarding the old man versus the new man, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart, who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
“But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus, that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”