Health Care

Illinois-based Catholic hospital system plans to deny LGBTQ workers fertility coverage

A Catholic hospital system operating 15 hospitals and another 132 facilities in Illinois and Michigan has adopted a policy to cover fertility treatment only for workers in opposite-sex marriages.

Illinois-based OSF HealthCare, which has more than 24,000 health care workers, changed the language of its fertility treatment policy to explicitly refer to opposite sex-couples, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg Law, meaning employees who are in same-sex marriages would not be covered.

The policy could be illegal under federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

It would also would likely run afoul of the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County, which ruled an employer cannot discriminate against an individual based on their sexual orientation, as it would violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

OSF HealthCare is owned by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, a Roman Catholic organization in Peoria, Ill.

Discrimination against same-sex couples and members of the LGBTQ community seeking to raise children is part of multiple ongoing civil rights battles in the U.S.

Last year, health insurance company Aetna was sued in a class-action lawsuit alleging it forces same-sex couples to pay more out-of-pocket fees than opposite-sex couples.

Under the Biden administration, the federal government has taken steps to prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including an executive order last month that expands protections through federal programs.

In August, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated its policies so that children born through assisted reproductive technology are considered born in wedlock, a huge step for same-sex married couples who use in vitro fertilization or surrogacy to have a child.

Tags hospital systems Illinois Illinois LGBTQ discrimination LGBTQ rights Same-sex marriage

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