A woman who was denied a tubal ligation by the Catholic-run hospital in Humboldt, Sask.—touching off a heated debate about the role of religion in health care —is getting a cash settlement from Catholic authorities.
Leann Gunther will receive $7,875 from the Saskatchewan Catholic Health Corp. in compensation.
Last year, after Gunther went to St. Elizabeth's Hospital and was denied access to the sterilization procedure — in which fallopian tubes are tied, burned or cut to prevent conception — shecomplained to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
She said she had been discriminated against on the basis of gender and religion because she had been denied a public service.
Such complaints sometimes result in human rights tribunals where witnesses are called and remedies can be ordered. In this case, the settlement ends the dispute.
"I am very pleased that we were able to settle this complaint, both for myself and for the women of Humboldt and the surrounding area," Gunther said in a news release.
"We have a right to equal services regardless of our gender or religious beliefs."
Last June, the board of directors for the hospital in Humboldt bannedtubal ligations to bring hospital operations in line with Catholic rules forbidding artificial contraception.
Some people objected to the policy, because the facility is publicly funded.
Hospital's Catholic affiliation ending
In the wake of the controversy, and following a survey of area residents, the hospital board said it would endthe hospital'sCatholic affiliation and transfer control to the Saskatoon health district.
The transition to public control is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Plans are also underway to build a new publicly run hospital in Humboldt, which is about 100 kilometres east of Saskatoon.
Access to tubal ligations will no longer be an issue in Humboldt when the transition is complete, the human rights commission said in a news release.