The US Supreme Court declined to hear a Catholic hospital’s appeal after it denied a hysterectomy to a transgender patient.
Evan Minton, a trans man, had a hysterectomy scheduled at Mercy San Juan Medical Center in California in 2016.
According to the lawsuit, the hospital cancelled the procedure after finding out why the patient wanted it and permitted the physician to perform it at a different facility a few days later.
Minton accused the hospital of discrimination in state court, suing it for violating California’s civil rights law that protects people from discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Despite originally being ruled against by a trial judge, the case was revived in 2019 by the state’s appeals court.
The hospital said it is not discriminatory to transgender patients, adding that it does now allow other procedures such as abortion and euthanasia due to these being in conflict with Catholic teachings.
It went on to argue that forcing it to perform the procedure went against religious beliefs and was a violation of its First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion – something the appeals court rejected.
In a court filing, the hospital said: “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.”
In a legal filing by Minton, he explained that he needed the hysterectomy to overcome gender dysphoria.
He also noted that the hospital routinely performs hysterectomies on non-transgender patients to treat other issues such as uterine fibroids.
The Supreme Court declined to hear the hospital’s appeal, meaning that the lower court’s ruling of intentional discrimination against the patient will stand.
Although the appeal will not be heard, conservative Justices Thomas Alito, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch all said they were willing to hear both cases for the argument.