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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 16, Issue 4, Winter 2016

E. Christian Brugger
Pages 587-597

Catholic Hospitals and Sex Reassignment Surgery
A Reply to Bayley and Gremmels

Catholic health care institutions presently face the question of whether it would be morally legitimate for them to participate in sex reassignment surgery for patients suffering from gender dysphoria. This essay replies to two articles published on this question in the Winter 2016 issue of the Catholic health care journal Health Care Ethics USA. It argues that both articles fail to attend to factors necessary for an adequate moral assessment of the question, and thus provide inadequate solutions. It goes on to argue that it would be intrinsically wrong for Catholic hospitals to counsel or perform sex reassignment surgery if in so doing they affirmed certain widely held erroneous assumptions about the nature of sex and gender. The essay ends by asking whether, if those erroneous assumptions were clearly and publically rejected, it could ever be licit to per­form surgical amputations or plastic surgical reconstructions to assist persons suffering from severe and intractable cases of gender dysphoria.