The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued a California Catholic hospital chain for allegedly refusing her request for a tubal ligation following the birth of her third child, the Sacramento Bee reported.
"The overarching issue is about women's ability to access basic health care," said Elizabeth Gill, the senior attorney for the group's Northern California branch. "It's an incredibly common procedure used by a significant number of married women, but it’s being denied based on religious doctrine. It's a real problem."
The lawsuit against Dignity Health was filed on behalf of 33-year-old Rebecca Chamorro and Physicians for Reproductive Health, a non-profit group representing 1,200 physicians within the state, including obstetrician and gynecologist Samuel Van Kirk, who treats Chamorro.
Chamorro and her husband asked for the procedure to be performed at Mercy Medical Center in Redding this month, only to be denied by Van Kirk. She is one of three women who contacted the group after Van Kirk said he could not perform the procedure at the facility, which would force them to seek treatment at facilities between 70 to 160 miles away from the city.
Van Kirk, who delivers babies at the hospital, said in the suit that Mercy Medical has denied requests from 50 of his patients for tubal ligations over the past eight years.
Dignity Health said in a statement that its Catholic hospitals do not offer tubal ligations or vasectomies in keeping with the rules set by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which calls such procedures "intrinsically immoral."
[h/t The Friendly Atheist]