A Catholic hospital in New Jersey has denied discriminating against a transgender man when it refused to perform a hysterectomy on him.
Jionni Conforti, 33, launched a sex-and-gender discrimination case against the Roman Catholic St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, alleging he was refused the procedure and told it could not be carried out because it was a "Catholic hospital".
Speaking to the Associated Press at the time he launched the lawsuit in January, Conforti said: "I felt completely disrespected as a person.
"That's not how any hospital should treat any person, regardless of who they are. A hospital is a place where you should feel safe and taken care of. Instead I felt like I was rejected and humiliated."
However, St. Joseph's said in its filing to the court that the hospital is not under any obligation to perform procedures deemed to be "morally wrong" by the Church.
It also claims a ruling in favour of Conforti, who has since had the procedure at a different hospital, would be against the country's First Amendment, which protects freedom of religion.
In addition, the hospital's response also references a law that says hospitals do not have to perform sterilisations.
Conforti's attorney, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan from Lambda Legal, told AP: "The damages caused by the delay, as well as the humiliation and the stress caused by being discriminated against, are something that cannot be excused and are contrary to the law.
"St. Joseph's purportedly prides itself on having a patient-first approach. When you discriminate against a patient because of who it is, that really is not putting the patient first."