Catholic Hospital Sued Over Refusal to Perform Tubal Ligation

Posted: Jan 02, 2016 3:10 PM

Mercy Medical Center, a Catholic hospital in Redding, CA., is being sued by the ACLU after it said it would not perform a tubal ligation procedure during a scheduled cesarian section delivery later this month. Catholic doctrine prohibits contraception, including permanent sterilization like a tubal ligation or vasectomy.

In its ongoing dispute with Catholic hospital officials in Redding, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Dignity Health, contending the hospital system is unlawfully denying women’s rights to contraception.

The suit is filed on behalf of Physicians for Reproductive Health and a Redding woman, Rebecca Chamorro, who requested a tubal ligation at Mercy Medical Center in Redding during her scheduled cesarean section in late January. Chamorro and her husband, who have two other children, want the procedure as a permanent form of contraception.

“The overarching issue is about women’s ability to access basic health care. It’s an incredibly common procedure used by a significant number of married women, but it’s being denied based on religious doctrine. It’s a real problem,” said Elizabeth Gill, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.

A hospital willing to do the procedure is located about 70 miles from Mercy Medical Center.

What are your thoughts? Should a hospital be ordered to ignore its own doctrine?