SAN FRANCISCO — Trans health care issues are front and center in the debate about whether the University of California’s flagship San Francisco hospital should increase its treatment space by joining a Catholic-run system that restricts care based on religious teaching, the Sacramento Bee reports.
At issue is a proposal that UCSF Medical Center affiliate with Dignity Health, a massive Catholic health care system that, like other Catholic chains, is bound by ethical and religious directives from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Among other prohibitions on services, Dignity hospitals ban abortions unless the mother’s life is at risk, in vitro fertilization and physician-assisted death. Twenty-four of Dignity’s 39 hospitals prohibit contraception services and gender-confirming care for transgender people, such as hormone therapy and surgical procedures, the Bee reports.
The affiliation would not keep UCSF from performing such procedures at its own medical center and outpatient clinics, and both entities would remain independent. UC doctors with practicing privileges at Dignity would be free to discuss all treatment options and could refer patients to other facilities when necessary, the Bee reports.
But they would have to abide by Dignity’s care restrictions while practicing at Dignity hospitals.
For opponents of the plan, the issue boils down to a clear-cut principle: How can a public hospital that has been a leader in women’s health care and medical services for the gay and transgender population partner with a private system that not only denies such services but also casts them as immoral, the Bee reports.