Judge Rejects ACLU’s Attempt to Force Catholic Hospital to Sterilize Women

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 8, 2016   |   7:25PM   |   Washington, DC

A judge’s ruling brought some good news to a Catholic Hospital this week after a liberal group tried to force its employees to sterilize a woman.

Earlier this month, the ACLU sued Mercy Medical Center, a Catholic hospital in Redding, California, after the hospital would not perform a tubal ligation procedure during a scheduled cesarian section delivery. Catholic doctrine prohibits contraception, including permanent sterilization like a tubal ligation or vasectomy.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Rebecca Chamorro, 33, who requested sterilization after her scheduled c-section in late January, LifeNews previously reported. Chamorro said she and her husband have two other children, and they want a permanent form of contraception after their third baby is born. The next nearest hospital that could perform the sterilization procedure is 70 miles away.

On Tuesday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith denied the ACLU’s request for a temporary restraining order against the hospital, according to The Daily Caller. Goldsmith issued a procedural ruling, calling for the liberal group to file a regular motion for an injunction against the hospital instead, the report states.

The report continues:

The ACLU of Northern California hopes to arrange a hearing next week for that purpose, says spokeswoman Leslie Fulbright.

Dignity Health, which runs the Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California, said in a statement to The Daily Caller that, “We are pleased by the court’s decision to deny the ACLU’s request for the [temporary restraining order] which will allow Dignity Health to continue to operate consistent with the [United States Catholic Bishops Conference] Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.”

California law expressly allows hospitals to decline to provide abortion or sterilization services for religious or moral reasons.

This is the second attempt by the ACLU to force the hospital to violate its religious beliefs in recent months. In August, the group threatened to sue the hospital on behalf of another woman who also wanted to be sterilized, according to The Daily Caller. In that case, the hospital reached an agreement with the woman to allow a private doctor to do the procedure, the report states.

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Religious leaders in the U.S. say they are increasingly concerned about violations of religious liberty for individuals and groups.

The president of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference recently called on the government to expand conscience protections for people and groups that oppose abortion.

“The principle at stake is whether people of faith and others who oppose abortion and abortion coverage should be compelled to participate in them,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, who also heads the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky. “We will continue to reach out to the White House and Congressional leaders untiringly until proper protections are guaranteed. No one should be forced by the government to actively participate in what they believe to be the taking of an innocent life.”