RELIGION

Catholic hospital denies unfair bias against transgender man

FILE – In this Jan. 5, 2017, file photo, Jionni Conforti, a transgender man who filed a federal lawsuit after uterus removal surgery as part of his sex transition was canceled by St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., poses for a portrait by The Associated Press in his home in Totowa, N.J. Saint Joseph's Healthcare System denies unfairly discriminating against Conforti, arguing in the Catholic hospital's Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, response to the lawsuit that a court ruling in the transgender man's favor would violate freedom of religion. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 5, 2017, file photo, Jionni Conforti, a transgender man who filed a federal lawsuit after uterus removal surgery as part of his sex transition was canceled by St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., poses for a portrait by The Associated Press in his home in Totowa, N.J. Saint Joseph's Healthcare System denies unfairly discriminating against Conforti, arguing in the Catholic hospital's Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, response to the lawsuit that a court ruling in the transgender man's favor would violate freedom of religion. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)  (The Associated Press)

A Catholic hospital has denied it unfairly discriminated against a transgender man who sued after the hospital refused to allow a surgeon to remove the man's uterus as part of his sex transition.

Saint Joseph's Healthcare System says a court ruling in Jionni (jee'-AH-nee) Conforti's favor would violate its constitutional right to freedom of religion. The hospital filed its response to the lawsuit last week in federal court.

The 33-year-old Totowa man had scheduled the hysterectomy at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson in 2015. His lawsuit alleges a hospital administrator told him the hospital couldn't perform the procedure to remove his uterus because it is a "Catholic hospital."

Conforti is seeking a court order requiring the hospital to perform any needed medical care for transgender patients.