Doctors and hospital staff at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have launched a petition opposing the university’s proposed expansion of a partnership with Catholic hospitals in the area.
The over 1,500 hospital employees who have signed the petition say that the partnership, which would expand university doctors’ admitting privileges, limits the quality of care patients receive because the Catholic hospitals restrict transgender healthcare as well as sterilization and abortion services.
Several of the Catholic hospitals UCSF currently partner with require doctors to sign a document declaring sterilizations, among other procedures, to be “intrinsically evil.”
Dignity Health, the Catholic hospital chain involved in the newly proposed partnership, includes hospitals that are classified as offiially Catholic as well as non-Catholic hospitals that are nevertheless subject to the church’s statement of common values. None of the Dignity hospitals are permitted to perform abortions, while only the officially Catholic hospitals will refuse transgender patients gender reassignment surgeries or hormone therapy.
In their petition, UCSF medical employees argue that Dignity’s policies interfere with the duty they have to their patients to provide the best medical care available. Dignity’s policies “[seek] to deny transgender patients… common procedures such as hysterectomy and mastectomy,.” the petition stated.
This denial, they say, conflicts with “the UCSF value of providing equitable care to all of our patients, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The petitioners also note that Dignity prohibits in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, and sperm donorship, “[eliminating] the ability of gay, lesbian, and transgender people to conceive” a biological child.
The petition finishes by noting that the university’s reputation and legal standing could be endangered by the partnership. They point to the case of Evan Minton, a transgender man who is suing Dignity after being denied a hysterectomy.
Although Catholic hospitals often claim they only turn away transgender patients because they do not perform sterilizations, the numerous lawsuits filed by transgender patients against Catholic hospitals in recent years have included several cases not involving fertility.
Hundreds of university medical personnel added comments when signing the petition, including one from an anonymous employee, who wrote:
“As a queer woman, I know what it feels like to be discriminated against in a health care setting and the deleterious effects this has on health. The LGBTQ population has some of the worst health outcomes of any group, and organizations like [Dignity] contribute to this harm.”
—Jonathan Nisly, New Ways Ministry, May 3, 2019