Religious freedom? What religious freedom?
I’m pretty sure that I’ve written those same two questions to open an article in the past. No doubt, considering how rapidly society is transforming, I will plagiarize myself again before everything is said and done. This time, I ask the questions because the ACLU has sued St. Joseph hospital in Eureka, Calif., for refusing to perform surgery on a woman who thinks she is a man.
Oliver Knight (I don’t know her real name) explains in an article published on the ACLU’s website that the hysterectomy she was scheduled to have was the next surgery in the process of sex reassignment. She confesses that:
Since I was a kid, I’ve felt like my body didn’t match my soul. I felt uncomfortable in clothes. I felt disgusting when I showered. Everything felt wrong, but it took me a while to figure out why. Once I discovered that I am a man, I went to my doctor to start the process of medically transitioning. I began taking testosterone. I had a double mastectomy. The next step was a hysterectomy.
Thankfully, the hospital realized that the surgery violated their religious beliefs and prevented Ms. Knight from any further self-harm through the process of mutilating her body. The ACLU, of course, sees it differently and believes that a person’s right to inflict further trauma and pain on their body trumps people’s right to live and act in accordance with their religious beliefs. In a press release, the ACLU paints the proceedings in a wholly negative light:
On August 30, 2017, minutes before Mr. Knight was scheduled to receive a hysterectomy, the St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka canceled his surgery. St. Joseph regularly allows hysterectomies for patients who are not transgender and Knight’s doctor said he and other physicians regularly perform the procedure. The discriminatory denial was because Mr. Knight is transgender.
St. Joseph is owned by the Providence St. Joseph Health Network, one of the largest health systems in the country—operating 51 hospitals, with over 25,000 physicians—and in the state of California, where it operates 18 hospitals. In Eureka, where Knight sought and was denied access to medical services, St. Joseph Hospital is the only provider within 25 miles.
Setting aside the immorality of transgenderism for argument’s sake, the “inconvenience” of living 25 miles from another hospital isn’t a good reason to override the First Amendment. To be clear, if the courts step in and force Saint Joseph hospital to follow through on Ms. Knight’s body mutilation, that will be a clear violation of the First Amendment.
This is a much larger and more fundamental issue than simply whether or not people should be allowed to mutilate their body. Even Americans who disagree with me on the ethics of transgenderism should be up in arms if St. Joseph hospital is forced to violate their religious beliefs. The legal foundation of our nation that ensures rights for all is at stake.