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In the Courts

Defending Your Care

The ACLU and partners have sued to stop Catholic hospitals from discriminating against transgender people (Minton vs. Dignity Health, Knight vs. St. Joseph Health) and people seeking basic reproductive care (Chamorro vs. Dignity Health). The outcome of these cases will affect people’s access to the care they need. Learn more about these cases and how the courts are responding.

Minton vs Dignity Health

Evan Minton is a transgender man who was scheduled to receive a hysterectomy at a hospital in the Dignity Health chain. Two days prior to the appointment, a nurse called to discuss the surgery and Minton mentioned that he is transgender. The next day, the hospital canceled the procedure. 

The ACLU, together with the law firm Covington & Burling LLP filed a lawsuit against Dignity Health for withholding medical care because of Evan’s gender identity, which amounts to sex discrimination in violation of California law. While the California Court of Appeal ruled in Evan’s favor, Dignity Health is now asking the US Supreme Court to overturn that decision.

Chamorro vs Dignity Health

Rebecca Chamorro decided with her doctor that she would get a tubal ligation during her scheduled C-section at Mercy Medical Center, a Dignity Health hospital in Redding, CA. But the hospital refused her doctor’s request to perform the procedure, citing religious directives that classify sterilization procedures as  “intrinsically evil.” The refusal creates a clear conflict between the best interests of patients and the directives written by the Catholic Bishops.

The ACLU and the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP filed a lawsuit against Dignity Health for the hospital chain’s use of religious directives to deny basic reproductive health care to its patients.

Knight vs St. Joseph Health

Just minutes before Oliver Knight was scheduled to receive a hysterectomy, the St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, CA canceled his surgery. St. Joseph regularly allows hysterectomies for patients who are not transgender and Knight’s doctor said he and other physicians regularly perform the procedure. The discriminatory denial was because Mr. Knight is transgender.

The ACLU and the law firm Rukin Hyland & Riggin LLP filed a lawsuit in March 2019 on Knight’s behalf.