The ACLU of Illinois filed a sex discrimination charge on behalf of Darolyn Lee, a Chicago woman denied basic contraceptive care and discriminated against by Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago.
Darolyn uses a long-acting reversible contraceptive device to prevent pregnancy. When she realized that her contraceptive device had expired, she contacted her Medicaid Managed Care Organization to find a provider to replace it. The MCO connected her with Mercy. Darolyn called, made an appointment, and travelled 30 minutes by bus from her home to get there. At the appointment, Mercy refused to provide Darolyn with the contraceptive care she needed. Indeed, the Mercy physician scolded Darolyn for not wanting to be a parent, stating that all women “should be required” to have children, since it is such a beautiful experience. Darolyn was referred to a second physician at the same facility, even though the first physician knew that no one at Mercy was permitted to provide contraceptive care under Mercy’s policies.
Darolyn was only able to obtain the contraceptive care she needed after making a third appointment – this time at a non-Mercy facility.
Mercy’s statements and actions constituted a denial of the full and equal enjoyment of its services. We filed a charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights on Darolyn’s behalf, alleging discrimination under the public accommodations provisions of the Illinois Human Rights Act.