Federal Court Rules in Favor of Transgender Man Denied Medical Care by UMMS Hospital

January 6, 2023 2:45 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Gillian Branstetter, ACLU, gbranstetter@aclu.org

BALTIMORE — A federal court ruled today that the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center violated the Affordable Care Act when it denied Jesse Hammons for commonly-performed medical care simply because the procedure was for gender-affirming care. The government-owned hospital claims that providing Hammons with medical care would be a violation of their religious beliefs.

“We’re thankful the court saw through a transparently discriminatory and harmful action by UMMS,” said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. The government has no business operating a religious hospital, much less do they have the right to deny transgender patients care they routinely provide to cisgender patients.”

“This is a great win for myself and all transgender people denied equal treatment because of who they are,” said Jesse Hammons, who works as a freelance American Sign Language interpreter. “All I wanted was for UMMS to treat my health care like anyone else’s, and I’m glad the court recognized how unfair it was to turn me away. I’m hopeful UMMS can change this harmful policy and help more transgender people access the care they need.”

Hammons was scheduled to undergo a medically necessary hysterectomy at the medical center as part of his gender-affirming care plan. A week before the surgery was scheduled to take place, the medical center informed Hammons surgery that the surgery had to be canceled because it violated the medical center’s Catholic religious beliefs. In filing for Mr. Hammons, the court found that “with the exception of procedures sought by transgender patients to treat gender dysphoria” the hospital “will perform any hysterectomy so long as it is consistent with the standard of care for a given diagnosis.”

The medical center was operated as a Catholic hospital until the University of Maryland Medical System purchased the hospital in 2012. Despite being a governmental entity, UMMS agreed to operate the medical center as a Catholic hospital. Hammons was able to receive gender-affirming care in July through a different medical provider.

The full ruling can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/hammons-v-umms-et-al-district-court-ruling

Please click here to learn more about Hammons v. UMMS: https://www.aclu.org/cases/hammons-v-umms

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release