Chamorro v. Dignity Health is a case that challenges religious refusals of reproductive health care to patients.

The ACLU and the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP filed a lawsuit against Dignity Health for the hospital chain’s use of religious directives to deny basic reproductive health care to its patients. Filed on behalf of patient Rebecca Chamorro and Physicians for Reproductive Health, the suit argues that withholding pregnancy-related care for reasons other than medical considerations is illegal in California.

Chamorro, a patient at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, decided with her doctor that she would get a tubal ligation during her scheduled C-section in late January. But the hospital refused her doctor’s request to perform the procedure, citing religious directives that classify sterilization procedures as  “intrinsically evil.” The refusal creates a clear conflict between the best interests of patients and the directives written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Catholic hospital chains have rapidly expanded over the past 15 years and their interference with the doctor-patient relationship presents a real threat to women’s ability to access basic healthcare across the country.

Case Developments

April 27, 2016
Read the CMA Intervention Complaint.

April 27, 2016
Read the Memo of Points & Authorities in Support of CMA's Motion for Leave to File Complaint in Intervention.

March 2, 2016
Read the amended complaint.

December 28, 2015
Read the complaint.

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Covington & Burling LLP

Date filed

December 28, 2015


Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Francisco



Case number

CHC 15-549626