A federal lawsuit filed Thursday claims
that a Maryland hospital refused to care for a man because he is
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) is representing Jesse Hammons in the lawsuit.
According to the ACLU, Hammons was
scheduled to undergo a hysterectomy at the University of Maryland St.
Joseph Medical Center in Baltimore. A week before the surgery was
scheduled to take place, Hammons was informed that the surgery was
canceled because it violated the hospital's Catholic religious
The University of Maryland St. Joseph
Medical Center is a taxpayer-owned hospital that was previously
operated as a Catholic hospital. The University of Maryland Medical
System acquired the hospital eight years ago.
“I was shocked when I learned that
the hospital canceled my surgery just because I am transgender,”
said Jesse Hammons, who works at a local community college and is
studying to become an American Sign Language interpreter. “The
hospital will perform hysterectomies for everyone else, but they did
not think that my life, as a man who is transgender, is equally
worthy of protection. While no one should be turned away from health
care because of who they are, the fact that this institution is part
of the University of Maryland Medical System makes it particularly
“The government has no business
running a religious hospital,” said Joshua Block, senior staff
attorney with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. “The Supreme Court
has been clear that a government-controlled corporation like UMMS
must comply with the Constitution. A governmental entity cannot deny
medical care based on religious beliefs, and it cannot discriminate
against transgender people by denying them health care that is
available to everyone else.”
Hammons received medical care through a
different medical provider, the ACLU said.