A Catholic hospital in Maryland is being sued for declining to perform a transgender surgery, according to news outlets.
The hospital reportedly opted not to perform a hysterectomy as part of an apparent sex-reassignment surgery. Now the hospital is being sued.
There are several problems with this case, but here are a couple:
First, Catholic hospitals operate according to the principles and teachings of the Catholic Church — including the Catholic Church’s teachings about abortion, assisted suicide, and gender identity.
It should come as no surprise that a Catholic hospital would decline to participate in sex-reassignment surgeries.
Second, Catholic hospitals generally object to performing major surgeries on healthy patients.
As bioethicist Wesley J. Smith notes,
Catholic moral principles only permit body parts to be removed to treat physical pathology. If the patient’s uterus had been cancerous, the surgery [hysterectomy] would not have been a problem.
Stories like this one underscore why Arkansas needs to strengthen its laws protecting rights of conscience for healthcare workers and hospitals.
Unfortunately the Arkansas Legislature has failed to pass measures protecting healthcare workers’ rights of conscience two legislative sessions in row — once in 2017 and once in 2019.
Conscience protections are very important for healthcare workers and hospitals.
Without them, we could end up with doctors and hospital boards who are not guided by conscience at all.
That’s a very sobering thought.