A California judge has ruled in favor of a Catholic hospital system which had refused to perform tubal ligations, but the American Civil Liberties Union just won’t give up.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith agreed with a court filing by attorneys for Dignity Health Hospital Network, which claimed:

“The jurisprudence is unequivocal: A Catholic hospital may prohibit sterilization procedures that violate the core principles of the hospital’s faith.”

Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that the left-wing activist ACLU is determined to win. They’ve already announced their intent to appeal in the California case. And on their website, the organization claims:

“We’re taking on hospitals for refusing pregnant women emergency care under the guise of religious directives.”

Last month, I reported that the ACLU had filed suit against Dignity Health Hospital Network, in an attempt to force the Mercy Medical Center to perform a tubal ligation in violation of the U.S. Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care. I quoted ACLU attorney Elizabeth Gill, who argued:

“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.”

This week, Judge Goldsmith denied their emergency motion request. A representative of Dignity Health said in a statement,

“We are pleased by the court’s decision to deny the ACLU’s request, which will allow Dignity Health to continue to operate consistent with the ethical and religious directives for Catholic Health Care Services.”

But the ACLU’s not taking “no” for an answer.

In August 2015, they sued on behalf of a pregnant attorney by the name of Rachel Miller. When her tubal ligation was approved, apparently due to other health considerations, the ACLU sought another patient whose case could advance their goal of forcing Catholic hospitals to violate their religious principles.

And last October, the ACLU of Michigan sued Trinity Health Corporation, one of the largest Catholic health systems in the country, for refusing to provide abortions and other reproductive services–claiming that the hospital’s adherence to Catholic teaching put them in violation of the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Hospitals or healthcare organizations facing legal action and requiring representation may want to look for services like those found at Sidley Austin – learn more over on their website about how their healthcare lawyers can help their clients overcome legal challenges.

Here in Michigan, the ACLU has advanced its campaign against Catholicism with at least two other lawsuits:

  • In December 2013, they sued the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of a pregnant woman by the name of Tamesha Means. That case is being appealed.
  • And the organization sent a demand letter to Genesys Hospital, run by Ascension Health in Grand Blanc, Michigan, on behalf of Jessica Mann, a pregnant woman with a life-threatening brain tumor who was denied a request for a tubal ligation at the time of her scheduled cesarian section delivery. Ms. Mann’s doctors had advised her to have the tubal ligation at the time of her delivery because another pregnancy would increase the risks to her posed by her tumors, as would forcing her to undergo an additional procedure after the delivery.

The stakes are high: The courts must continue to protect the religious liberty of Catholic health care institutions. If they do not, what could follow is a policy change regarding reproductive treatment that is as far-reaching as the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, which imposed the secularist viewpoint on religious and other institutions across America.

Let me repeat the advice I offered pregnant women last month, when talking about these contentious cases: GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! There are plenty of other, non-Catholic health care facilities which will sterilize you without comment.


Image credit: Tubal Ligation Set by ??????? (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons