Rebecca Chamorro decided she did not want to have more children after the birth of the baby she was carrying. She elected to have a tubal ligation immediately after her delivery by C-section at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California. The rural hospital denied her request because as a Catholic medical facility it is against the hospital’s policy to tie a healthy woman’s tubes.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Dignity Health, the network of Catholic hospitals Mercy Medical is part of, on Chamorro’s behalf. The ACLU cites previous postpartum sterilizations that have been performed at the hospital as a basis for the suit.
I am not an especially bright person. I know this because I have enough critics who tell me so, but I think I know what is going on here. Knowing the Roman Catholic’s stand on the divine perspective of the procreative process, any exception to the policy on tubal ligations was based on the woman’s medical condition that made a future pregnancy exceptionally problematic.
If the woman’s medical condition posed a genuine threat to the health and life of the prospective mother, and the child she would carry, there would be no objection to a prophylactic sterilization. It would be common sense, medically speaking. Mercy Medical opposed a tubal ligation it considered elective and medically unneeded.
The ACLU mentioned the previous exceptions for public posturing to foist its viewpoint on a perspective pool of jurors. There are plenty of medical facilities that would gladly do the tubal ligation for Chamorro, but then the ACLU would not get the publicity they crave and the courtroom fight they want.
So what is at stake here? The ACLU suggests that Chamorro’s liberty to have a tubal ligation creates an obligation on the part of Mercy Medical to do the procedure contrary to the medical center’s stated policy based on its religious convictions.
Religious liberty is as old as the Exodus. Pharaoh had enslaved Israel to serve him. Moses, speaking for God said, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me,” Exodus 8:1. God thought Israel had served Pharaoh long enough, and it was now time for Israel to serve Him.
The First Amendment is considered the cornerstone for the other nine in the Bill of Rights. I think it is significant that when our founding fathers sought to protect basic human liberties, the first one they protected was freedom of religion; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
I do not believe our founding fathers ever intended the Constitution to afford a liberty to one citizen that becomes coercive to the liberty of another. Chamorro could go to another hospital or medical facility that would appreciate her business. Why try to enslave Mercy Medical to do her bidding?
The concept and use of liberty is not to enslave another, and deprive them of their liberty. Pharaoh learned that the hard way.