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Catholic Hospital Denies Claims In Transgender Discrimination Lawsuit

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A Roman Catholic hospital in New Jersey has denied that it discriminated against a transgender man who sued after it refused to allow his surgeon to perform a hysterectomy procedure.

Saint Joseph's Healthcare System says that a ruling in Jionni Conforti's favor would violate its federal and state constitutional right to freedom of religion. The hospital filed its response to the lawsuit last week in federal court.

Conforti, 33, of Totowa, had scheduled the surgery at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson in 2015. But he alleges in the federal lawsuit that a hospital administrator then told him the procedure to remove his uterus couldn't be done because it was a "Catholic hospital."

"I felt completely disrespected," said Conforti, whose transition began in 2004. "That's not how any hospital should treat any person regardless of who they are. A hospital is a place where you should feel safe and taken care of. Instead, I felt like I was rejected and humiliated."

As 1010 WINS's Al Jones reported in an earlier story, Conforti's doctors told him the procedure was medically necessary.

"After they denied my surgery there everything changed, my whole world was just turned upside down," Conforti said.

Conforti is seeking monetary damages and a requirement the hospital perform any needed medical care for transgender patients.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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