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Stateside Podcast: Can religious hospitals deny trans people care?

the trans pride flag the transgender pride flag
Sharon McCutcheon

When 14-year-old Tiffinny Moutardier and her mom, Jean Oorbeck, walked into Emmaus Health Partners for Tiffinny's appointment, they were seeking medical assistance to manage her ADHD symptoms.

However, after Oorbeck informed the doctor at Emmaus Health Partners that her daughter was taking estrogen, he claimed that the clinic would not be able to treat her ADHD.

Emmaus Health Partners later claimed that, while they do not have the expertise to provide hormonal therapy, they do not discriminate based on gender identity. However, Tiffinny's appointment had nothing to do with hormonal therapy.

Michigan expanded its civil rights law this spring to protect sexual orientation and gender identity. But now there's this big unanswered question: are religious organizations exempt from those laws? And does that mean religious hospitals and clinics can deny people medical care, specifically people from the transgender community? We tackle these questions and more on today's podcast episode.


  • Kate Wells, Michigan Radio reporter

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Olivia Mouradian recently graduated from the University of Michigan and joined the Stateside team as an intern in May 2023.
Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Public in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the summer of 2020.