By Daniel Payne
If you want a perfect picture of the terminal insanity of twenty-first-century American progressive politics, look no further than Jionni Conforti v. St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, Inc, et al. This lawsuit, filed in the District Court of New Jersey, encapsulates both the psychosis of liberal dogma and the existential threat that liberalism poses to many core constitutional liberties.
The plaintiff in this case, Jionni Conforti, is a woman, but she believes she is a man. Consequently, she desires a hysterectomy to make her body more like a male’s. Conforti’s conviction is, to say the very least, a delusion. It’s one entirely worthy of our sympathy and understanding, but a delusion nonetheless. Yet we are increasingly becoming a society that indulges delusions, even celebrates them, so Conforti’s primary care physician, who in any sane legal framework would be guilty of malpractice, advised her to “take steps…to align [herself] with [her] true sex.” Ergo, the hysterectomy.
There was a problem, however: Conforti sought to have her hysterectomy by way of St. Joseph’s Health Care System. St. Joseph’s is a Catholic institution, so informed Conforti that she is not eligible for an operation under their roof. The Catholic Church is opposed to the needless removal of healthy reproductive organs, which is precisely what Conforti was after, and so they told her she would have to seek her surgery elsewhere.
Hence, the lawsuit: Conforti believes she is entitled to force St. Joseph’s to remove her uterus, whatever their objections, no matter her delusions. The lawsuit itself comprises an essay in breathtaking madness. It states, for instance, that “Gender identity…is the primary factor in determining a person’s sex,” which is as objectively false a statement as one can imagine. But crazier lawsuits have succeeded, and it is not impossible to imagine that St. Joseph’s will indeed be forced to take part in Conforti’s “gender” “reassignment.”
As a legal matter, the issue is interesting and important: does Conforti have a viable claim under New Jersey and federal law? She may yet have one under both, although the federal question is an open one. Just a few days ago a federal judge issued a temporary injunction regarding an Obama administration rule within the Affordable Care Act that would force doctors to perform these types of surgeries. If that rule stands, then Conforti may indeed have a leg to stand on as far as federal law goes.
The political question, however, is of much more significant import, chiefly because it underlines the totalitarian impulse found within much of American progressivism these days. There is no reason, after all, that Conforti could not have taken herself to another hospital to get her operation. There are surely other hospitals in Paterson, New Jersey, and in nearby towns. But liberalism, particularly its various strains of sexual fanaticism, is increasingly unable to tolerate pluralism or even the pretense of pluralism.
Daniel Payne is a senior contributor at The Federalist. He currently runs the blog Trial of the Century
, and lives in Virginia.