Hospital emergency roomSAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco judge on Thursday refused to order a Catholic hospital to allow an obstetrician to use its facility to sterilize a woman just after the birth of her third child.

In denying the American Civil Liberties Union’s emergency request, superior court judge Ernest Goldsmith recognized the right of a Catholic hospital to adhere to its ethical and religious dictates.

“The religious beliefs reflected in their operation are not to be interfered with by courts,” Goldsmith said during an hour-long hearing in San Francisco. “There’s no law that says that hospitals are mandated to perform sterilizations.”

The case, brought by the ACLU, spotlights increasing tension over women’s rights to contraceptive healthcare in Catholic institutions.

Rebecca Chamorro plans to deliver her baby by cesarean section in Redding, California, at the end of the month and would like her physician to tie her tubes immediately following the birth.

But Mercy Medical Center Redding, a Catholic hospital with the only delivery room in a 70-mile radius of Chamorro’s home […]

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