Catholic hospital in transgender backdown

A US Catholic Hospital which at first refused surgery for a male transexual patient, has now reversed its decision and will permit the procedure.

Catholic News Agency reports a doctor from the Seton Medical Center (pictured) in 2006 told Charlene Hastings, 57, that the hospital would not allow him to perform breast enhancement surgery on a transsexual.

Hastings claimed that upon further inquiry a surgical coordinator at the hospital said to him, "It's not God's will" and "God made you a man."

Furthermore, a 2006 memo sent by Seton Medical Center to physicians said, "transgender procedures or procedures that are part of the transgendering process may not be performed at Seton, as Seton is a Catholic Hospital."

Hastings filed suit against the hospital in San Francisco Superior Court in December 2006.

The suit alleged the hospital violated state law, which allows religiously-based hospitals to refuse to perform abortions but makes no exemption for denying elective surgery for transgender operations.

In February the hospital issued a written statement to a television station saying "We regret any confusion that may have come from this situation. We want this patient and her physician to know that they are welcome at Seton Medical Center."

However, the hospital still said that Catholic teaching prohibits the accommodation of sex-change operations.

Hastings will not undergo surgery at Seton, saying he would not be comfortable because he would feel the hospital would be "doing it under duress."


Catholic hospital to allow transgender surgery after being sued (CNA 04/03/08)

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