A transgender man has filed a lawsuit against a Catholic hospital in Paterson, New Jersey after it refused to perform a hysterectomy as part of a gender reassignment procedure.
The lawsuit was filed against St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center by the gay legal advocacy organization Lambda Legal on Jan. 5 on behalf of Jionni Conforti.
According to Life Site News, the suit is requesting an injunction forcing the hospital to provide gender reassignment and other similar forms of treatment. It also seeks damages for Conforti's "emotional distress and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, emotional pain and anguish, violation of his dignity, and loss of enjoyment of life."
The lawsuit stated that Conforti was initially informed by the head nurse in charge of surgery that the procedure will be performed. But he was later told by the hospital administrator that the hysterectomy will not be carried out because the hospital was Catholic.
"I felt completely disrespected. That's not how any hospital should treat any person regardless of who they are," said Conforti.
St. Joseph's Healthcare System released a statement saying the hospital is following the Catholic Ethical and Religoius Directives (ERDs) proclaimed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2009.
"St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center is a leading Catholic healthcare institution serving one of the most diverse and underserved populations in New Jersey," the statement read.
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"The Medical Center follows the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services in making decisions about care and treatment," it added.
The ERD's are guiding principles that were designed to ensure that Catholic hospitals are operating in accordance with Catholic teaching.
The lawsuit came just after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against a U.S. Health and Human (HHS) Services regulation that would prevent doctors, hospitals and insurers from discriminating against individuals based on their gender identity.
Judge Reed O' Connor ruled on Dec. 31 that the regulation, which was supposed to take effect on Jan. 1, would force religious hospitals to violate their beliefs or risk severe penalties if they do not amend their policies.
The lawsuit claims that the hospital's patient bill of rights guarantees treatment without discrimination and includes gender identity and expression.
Conforti argued that the hospital performs hysterectomies for other women who are "cisgender," a term used by transgender activists to describe people who identify with their birth gender.