Judge denies motion in Dignity Health lawsuit

Jan 5, 2016 8:24 PM by News Staff

A San Francisco Superior Court Judge denied a motion Tuesday brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Catholic-affiliated medical group, Dignity Health.

Dignity Health, which operates Mercy Medical Center in Redding, has denied women various procedures related to reproductive health in the past citing religious directives. The American Civil Liberties Union, the organization leading the charge against the hospital, contends that withholding pregnancy-related care for reasons other than medical considerations is illegal in California.

The motion denial is a victory for Dignity Health and Mercy Medical, which took heat last month for denying tubal ligations, a form of sterilization, on religious principles. The motion would have granted Rebecca Chamorro a restraining order against the hospital, allowing her doctor to perform the procedure.

Dr. Gupta, a doctor with the Physicians with Reproductive Health and also a plantiff on the case, had some strong words for the medical group.

“It really is a form of the catholic bishop dignity health practicing medicine,” he said. “We should leave medicine to the medical experts and leave religion and theology to those experts.”

Dignity health issued a statement following the decision.

"We are pleased by the court's decision to deny the ACLU's request for the TRO which will allow Dignity Health to continue to operate consistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," the statement read.

But the battle is far from over. The ACLU plans to file a new motion and expects to be back in court sometime next week.


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