Sex dis­crim­i­na­tion and cor­po­rate prac­tice of medicine laws

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

In an­other case, the ACLU threat­ened to sue Dig­nity Health’s Mercy Med­i­cal Cen­ter Red­ding (Calif.) for deny­ing Rachel Miller’s re­quest for tubal li­ga­tion at the time of her C-sec­tion.

The ACLU ar­gued the de­ci­sion con­sti­tuted sex dis­crim­i­na­tion, which is pro­hib­ited by Cal­i­for­nia and fed­eral law. Women must be al­lowed to re­ceive pro­ce­dures in line with stan­dards of care, the ACLU ar­gued.

Lay­cock said the ar­gu­ment doesn’t seem strong. But Hill said it might carry some weight.

The ACLU also al­leged that the hospi­tal vi­o­lated the state’s cor­po­rate prac­tice of medicine law by in­sert­ing its cor­po­rate en­tity’s reli­gious be­liefs into the de­ci­sion about Miller’s care.

El­iz­a­beth Sep­per, an as­so­ciate law pro­fes­sor at Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity, called the ar­gu­ment “clever” but noted that it couldn’t be used na­tion­wide be­cause not all states have such laws.

Mercy ul­ti­mately agreed to al­low the tubal li­ga­tion, the ACLU said. Dig­nity said in a state­ment that it can’t dis­cuss spe­cific pa­tient care but its prac­tice is to not pro­vide tubal lig­a­tions ex­cept on a case-by-case ba­sis when a for­mal re­view by a com­mit­tee of physi­cians and oth­ers gives per­mis­sion. It said the hospi­tal has al­ways and will con­tinue to op­er­ate in ac­cor­dance with the Catholic di­rec­tives and med­i­cal staff by­laws. Brigitte Amiri, an ACLU se­nior staff at­tor­ney, said the ACLU stands ready to eval­u­ate ad­di­tional sto­ries from other women to see if more le­gal ac­tion is war­ranted. The or­ga­ni­za­tion is try­ing a num­ber of le­gal ap­proaches, she said.

“We’re still at the be­gin­ning wave of th­ese at­tempts to try to get the law en­forced,” Amiri said.


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