ACLU Sues Catholic Hospital for Being Catholic

Actually, I had thought this whole story was over. Back in August 2015, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a Catholic hospital had “backed down,” relinquishing its right to observe the teachings of the Catholic Church, and had agreed to provide tubal ligations in order to avoid a lawsuit.

Mercy Medical Center, which is owned and operated by Dignity Health of San Francisco, abided by Catholic hospitals’ Ethical and Religious Directives against sterilization, and thus had refused to authorize a tubal ligation for a pregnant attorney named Rachel Miller. However, according to SFGate‘s report, the hospital “backed down” after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue to force the hospital to provide what they called “pregnancy-related services.”

What actually happened in that case remains unclear. The ACLU claimed a victory, insinuating that it was their threat which caused the hospital to reverse its earlier stand and allow the tubal ligation to be performed in their facility. However, SFGate‘s report says that “…the hospital notified her doctor that it was reconsidering based on additional information the physician had provided.” In the end, the surgery was approved.

Ms. Miller’s medical files are confidential, of course; but it would appear that there was another reason (other than contraception) for performing the tubectomy. There may have been signs of disease, a blockage, or some other reason for removing the fallopian tubes–in which case the hospital did NOT break with Catholic teaching by permitting the surgery.

So the story would have had a happy ending, except that it had been the intent of the ACLU all along to prevent the Catholic Church from being the Church, and from teaching and implementing its timeless truths. Elizabeth Gill, legal counsel for the left-wing activist organization, said of Mercy Health Center, “That’s great that they are willing to do that for some women.” But Miller, she said, “is just one of many women who risk being denied care because Catholic bishops are telling medical professionals how to operate.”

Rachel Miller added her two cents in a statement released by her lawyers. “This is a decision that I made with my family and my doctor,” Miller said, “and no one else should be involved in that process.”

    *     *     *     *     *

And now it appears that the ACLU has found another supposed “victim”–another pregnant woman to fulfill their imagined narrative, forcing a Catholic hospital to end its longstanding support for Catholic ethical standards in their facility.

Today the ACLU issued a press release, announcing that they had filed a lawsuit against Dignity Health Hospital Network because they “continue to refuse pregnancy- related care because of religious directives.” Litigants in this latest case are patient Rebecca Chamorro and Physicians for Reproductive Health.

Elizabeth Gill is once speaking out against the Church:

“The refusal of hospitals to allow doctors to perform basic health procedures based solely on religious doctrine presents a real threat to a woman’s ability to access health care. Patients seeking medical care from public institutions should not have to worry that religious doctrine rather than medical judgment will dictate what care they receive.”

In addition to the lawsuit, ACLU attorneys are filing an emergency motion asking the court to prevent Dignity Health from using the religious directives to interfere with Chamorro’s care so that her doctor can perform the procedure during her scheduled delivery by C-section in late January. A hearing on this motion is scheduled for Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. in San Francisco Superior Court.

*     *     *     *     *

And if I have a suggestion for Ms. Chamorro:  GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! There are other, non-Catholic health care facilities which will sterilize you without comment.

Mercy Medical Center, though, is within its rights in determining which medical procedures will be authorized at its facilities. I’d imagine that within a five-mile radius of this hospital there are other clinics which provide

[choose one] spinal osteomyelitis surgery; gastric bypass; pancreatectomy; coronary revasculization; and many other procedures which are offered by some (but not all) hospitals.

Ms. Chamorro has no right to go to a hospital which does not provide these services and demand that they perform that procedure on her, any more than she should go to a vegetarian deli and demand sirloin steak. It’s not what they do; and she, the patient/customer, should go where she can obtain the service she seeks.

If Chamorro simply wanted a tubal ligation, she could find a facility to meet her request. What Chamorro and the ACLU intend is to force the Catholic Church to abandon its teachings about sexuality and about the sanctity of life which were passed down from Christ through the Apostles.

They will not succeed.

     *     *     *     *     *

NOTE:  As I publish this, I realize that some of my readers may never have been exposed to the Catholic Church’s well defined theology with regard to contraception. There is no explanation as yet on this blog; I intend to remedy that, so watch this space for further reports.


IMAGE:  Normal Fallopian Tube – Human, by Ed Uthman, MD ( [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By |2018-01-27T17:40:01+00:00December 29th, 2015|Politics & Culture|


  1. July 8, 2016 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Yes, and draining an anemic’s blood will encourage his body to grow stronger. And, the larger the tax the more business investment. One wonders where these weird ideas come from.Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

  2. Thank you for this information, Devin. As a woman, I am excited when a woman gets recognition like this. I will have to learn more about Hildegarde. Do you think many Catholic parents will name their daughters after her?

  3. bionicle_fanatic January 14, 2016 at 2:44 am - Reply

    The American Civil Liberty Union doesn’t have a clu….

    Sorry, I just couldn’t help the pun [:P]

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  5. […] Pope Francis and Next Year’s Challenges – Andrea Gagliarducci, Vatican at a Glance A.C.L.U. Sues Catholic Hospital for Being Catholic – Kathy Schiffer, Seasons of Grace Europe & Islam – Big Pulpit (January 5, 2016) For […]

  6. Micha Elyi January 5, 2016 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Since 2008 that such a situation would occur was easily foreseen. I am disappointed that the leadership of Catholic hospitals and the dioceses in which they are located appear to be caught by surprise again.

  7. Lisa January 4, 2016 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    Do they go in a Jewish Deli and insist they get served a ham sandwich?

  8. eddie too January 4, 2016 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    have not all u.s. taxpayers surrendered to the belief system of our secular governments when they allow only parents who submit to the governments’ beliefs to be eligible for taxpayers’ assistance?

    we long ago abandoned the first amendments prohibitions on governments establishing only one acceptable system of belief, that system taught in the government run schools.

    catholic attorneys have the knowledge and skills to oppose the governments’ willful violations of the u.s. constitution, but they are what? too busy, it is not profitable enough, they think allowing the government to support only one belief system (that is contrary to the catholic faith) is just fine, or what?

  9. Bishop Edward Skiba January 1, 2016 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    Go somewhere else. Our rights are just as valid as theirs!

    • Wilbur M. Bolton (TeaPot562) January 2, 2016 at 11:30 pm - Reply

      That should be obvious. Don’t we have a Catholic counterpart to the lawyers at ACLU that can take this suit on wo bankrupting the hospital?

  10. RAnn December 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    I’ll admit I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I agree with the Church’s stance, and it seems wrong to make an institution run by a church do something that violates that church’s teachings. On the other hand, so hospitals are hardly charitable institutions. They receive large amounts of government support via Medicare, Medicaid and sometimes other subsidies. They are big, profitable businesses. They are also businesses that some people in some places have little choice but to do business with. It is probably not the case for a lawyer in San Francisco, but insurance plans (which are often chosen by employers, not employees) can limit your choice of hospitals. Some areas have few choices to begin with. If you truly are free to go across the street to the secular hospital, then complaining that the Catholic hospital is Catholic is dumb. Thirty years ago the New Orleans area had about twenty hospitals, two of which were Catholic. Neither Catholic hospital delivered babies, and my guess is that the market made that decision for them. If they were the only game in town, where does that leave women who want what is considered routine healthcare–a post-partum tubal ligation?

    • Deacon John Berstecher December 31, 2015 at 10:52 am - Reply

      Keep in mind that “abortion” is considered routine care by professionals. There are reasons to do the surgery, and if it does not violate natural law then so be it.

  11. Stephanie December 30, 2015 at 12:57 am - Reply

    If I go to Rachel’s Vineyard and demand counseling on how to get an abortion and demand that there be a group available to affirm my decision, I’m not going there to particularly receive service, I am going there particularly for a fight, (period)(.). Rachel”s Vineyard is a center that provides grief counseling for women who have had abortions or who have lost a child do to other circumstances. You know, there are many other places I could go, but I’m coming to you, Catholic Hospitals, you, whatever the Catholic thing might be, I am coming to you, expressly for a fight. If one doesn’t exists, I will figure something out, just for you. What I’ve written is crude and rude, but as Catholics, this is the mindset that is in the world, it is the fight we are up against so, pick up your prayer rosary and stand by.


    • Deacon John Berstecher December 31, 2015 at 10:53 am - Reply


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