Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Challenge To Catholic Hospitals' Ethical Directives Dismissed On Standing and Ripeness Grounds

A Michigan federal district court has dismissed on standing and ripeness grounds a challenge to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services followed by Catholic hospitals.  In ACLU v. Trinity Health Corp., (ED MI, April 11, 2016), the ACLU sued claiming that provisions in the Directives that prevent terminating a pregnancy to stabilize a woman's condition when emergency complications occur violate the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act and the Rehabilitation Act.  The court held that allegations of past injury because of the hospital's compliance with the Directives does not give standing for future-looking declaratory and injunctive relief, and allegations regarding one woman who is currently pregnant do not show a substantial risk of pregnancy complications or likelihood of future treatment at defendant's hospitals.  A report from Michigan Radio has reactions of the parties to the decision.