Man sues St. Joseph's Healthcare System for refusing to perform gender transition surgery

A transgender man has filed a lawsuit against Paterson, N.J.-based St. Joseph's Healthcare System for refusing to perform a hysterectomy as part of the man's gender transition process, according to the Star Tribune.

The health system said in a court filing that the Catholic health system has the right to refuse to perform procedures that are deemed "morally wrong" by the church and that a court ruling in the plaintiff's favor would violate the health system's constitutional right to freedom of religion, according to the report.

Jionni Confroti, 33, had scheduled the hysterectomy at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson in 2015. His lawsuit alleges a nurse in charge of surgery confirmed the procedure could be scheduled, but after his physician was informed it was for gender reassignment a hospital administrator told Mr. Confroti they couldn't perform the procedure because it is a Catholic hospital, according to the report.

Mr. Confroti is seeking a court order requiring the hospital to perform any needed medical procedures for transgender patients, as well as monetary damages.

"The damages caused by the delay, as well as the humiliation and the stress caused by being discriminated against, is something that cannot be excused and are contrary to the law," said Mr. Conforti's attorney, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, according to the report. "St. Joseph's purportedly prides itself on having a patient-first approach. When you discriminate against a patient because of who [he] is that really is not putting the patient first."

St. Joseph's said in its response to the lawsuit that the hospital's actions are protected by the first amendment and that the court system should not be able to interpret ethical and religious directives from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adhered to by the hospital, according to the report.

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