Catholic Medical Center, Manchester New Hampshire

U.S. Bishops Vote to Initiate Process For Prohibiting Transgender Medicine in Catholic Hospitals

In a potential turning point for healthcare services in Catholic hospitals, Roman Catholic bishops in the U.S. voted June 16 to establish formal regulations banning their denomination’s hospitals and healthcare facilities from offering medical procedures and therapies commonly known as gender-affirming care.

During their spring meeting in Orlando, Florida, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops conducted a voice vote and reached a strong consensus to commence the process of revising the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

The directives, influenced by theology and church teachings, serve as regulatory guidelines for the roughly 2,200 Catholic hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country.   

The proposed revision aims to bring the directives in line with a doctrinal note issued by the bishops on March 20. The 14-page document specifically addresses what the bishops refer to as the “moral limits to technological manipulation of the human body.”  

“These technological interventions are not morally justified either as attempts to repair a defect in the body or as attempts to sacrifice a part of the body for the sake of the whole,” states the document, adding that the interventions are “attempts to alter the fundamental order and finality of the body and to replace it with something else.”

The segment of the directives that the bishops revised has remained unchanged since 1994. According to the bishops’ proposal, there was no anticipation back then about the need for explicit guidance regarding extensive alterations of the human body, as often advocated nowadays for addressing “the condition commonly known as gender dysphoria or gender incongruence.”   

The vote initiates a potentially lengthy process, spanning months or more, before any modifications are implemented to the directives.

However, the eventual language is expected to draw heavily from the March document, which unambiguously asserts that specific medical procedures pertaining to gender, such as hormone therapy and elective hysterectomies, cannot be provided within Catholic healthcare settings.