Michigan Health Fires Christian Physician’s Assistant After She Requested Religious Accommodation Not to Refer or Participate in ‘Transgender’ Procedures

Valerie Kloosterman, a Christian and physician’s assistant, sought a religious accommodation from referring patients to or participating in “transgender” procedures. Instead, the University of Michigan Health – West fired her.

Her legal counsel, the First Liberty Institute, said that Kloosterman has worked for Michigan Health for 17 years.

“She regularly received exemplary reviews, and supervisors called her ‘professional,’ ‘very ethical,’ and a ‘pleasure to work with.’ She treated all her patients respectfully, regardless of their background, sexual orientation, or declared gender.”

But she had to undergo mandatory “diversity and inclusion” training, which included information about “transgender” procedures. As a Christian, Kloosterman could not affirm statements about what she found objectionable or participate in referring patients for “sex-obscuring surgeries” or call men “she” and “her,” and vice versa.

First Liberty said the diversity representative called Kloosterman evil and blamed her for “gender dysphoria-related suicides.”

Michigan Health expects these medical professionals to be unscientific, denying biology…and common sense. Performing genital mutilation is not a morally neutral procedure like heart surgery. The God of the Bible calls homosexuality an abomination, and pretending to be the opposite sex falls under that sin. Forcing people to participate in someone’s fantasy about being the opposite sex is not only trampling on their rights, but it’s also offensive.

First Liberty sent Michigan Health a letter (PDF) demanding that it rehire Kloosterman and grant her request for a religious accommodation.

“Before firing Ms. Kloosterman, Michigan Health blatantly denigrated her religious beliefs, attempted to compel her to speak against her conscience and make referrals for medical services that violate her conscience, discriminated against her for her religious beliefs, and refused to reasonably accommodate her religious beliefs. Therefore, Michigan Health violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

First Liberty cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018). The court contended that a state has a duty under the First Amendment not to base laws or regulations on hostility to a religion or religious viewpoint. In that case, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission sued baker Jack Phillips after he declined to use his artistic talents to make a cake for a same-sex “wedding” on religious grounds. The court found the commission treated Phillips’s Christian faith with hostility and ruled 7-2 in his favor.

“It’s bad medicine to force religious health care professionals to choose between their faith and their job,” First Liberty senior counsel Jordan Pratt said. “Valerie provides excellent medical care for every patient, but she cannot in good conscience refer patients for experimental drugs and procedures that violate both her religious convictions and her medical judgment. Nor can she use biology-obscuring pronouns that violate her religious beliefs and could cause patients to miss potentially life-saving screenings. It is intolerant of Michigan Health to demand that medical professionals like Valerie abandon their religious beliefs and their medical ethics in order to remain employed.”

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