Hospital denies woman potential life-saving procedure on religious grounds

Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-24 18:21:24-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Catholic hospital in Genesee County denied a mother with a brain tumor a request to tie her tubes at the time of her delivery scheduled in October. She was was 35 weeks pregnant.

Genesys Hospital denied Jessica Mann’s request to get her tubes tied on religious grounds. Mann requested the procedure to avoid receiving anesthesia twice and getting pregnant again, something her doctors said could be life-threatening.

Mann enlisted the help of the American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, which sent Genesys Hospital two demand letters to make an exception and perform the procedure, which the ACLU said the hospital has done in the past.

In a video made with the ACLU, Mann said she feels it’s her “ethical obligation” to fight for other mother’s rights.

It’s a situation resonating with families across the state, including Holly Manciu, a mother in Sparta who was also refused tubal ligation. Now Manciu stands with Jessica Mann and told FOX 17 that religion does not belong in the operating room.

“It’s kind of almost discriminating against that person because of their beliefs,” said Manciu.

Manciu said her pregnancy with her youngest son Tyson was stressful. When she was eight months pregnant, she was shocked when her doctor of 20 years said Mercy Health Saint Mary’s refused to tie her tubes after delivery, she said.

“I didn’t want to take the chances of not getting my tubes tied,” said Manciu, "Because not everybody has the support to get a sitter and take time off to go have their procedure done."

Manciu switched to Spectrum Health just weeks before her due date in order to have her tubes tied after her delivery. Representatives with Mercy Health Saint Mary’s said the hospital stands by their decision,. "The Ethical and Religious Directives are entirely consistent with high-quality health care," they said in a statement, "and our clinicians continue to provide superb care throughout our community."

The ACLU has given Genesys Hospital until Friday to agree to perform the tube-tying procedure, otherwise they will file two formal complaints: one with the Department of Civil Rights, and one with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The ACLU also said the hospital denied Mann this procedure several months after her initial request.