A judge has blocked a Biden administration policy that would have forced doctors and hospitals to perform transgender surgeries and abortions against their religious conscience.
Judge Reed O’Connor of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas blocked Section 1557 of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act which the Biden administration said early this year it would apply in light of a 2020 Supreme Court ruling which interpreted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or orientation.
The Obama administration’s 2016 mandate interpreted the ACA to require nearly all doctors in the country to perform gender transition surgeries on both adults and children, even when a doctor believed it could be harmful to their patient to do so.
The Trump administration had established policy that would have provided for religious freedom exemptions from abortion and other procedures, but this was also blocked by the courts, The Catholic Review reports.
“The Christian plaintiffs contend that violation of their statutory rights under RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) is an irreparable harm,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
Judge O’Connor agreed with the Catholic health care system Franciscan Alliance, a group of over 20,000 healthcare professionals of conscience, and nine states against President Joe Biden’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra.
His ruling permanently bans Becerra from “from interpreting or enforcing” existing law “in a manner that would require them to perform or provide insurance coverage for gender-transition procedures or abortions, including by denying Federal financial assistance because of their failure to perform or provide insurance coverage for such procedures or by otherwise pursuing, charging, or assessing any penalties, fines, assessments, investigations, or other enforcement actions,” Faithwire reported.
“The court agrees,” the ruling read, “and concludes that enforcement of the 2021 interpretation (of Section 1557) forces Christian plaintiffs to face civil penalties or to perform gender-transition procedures and abortions contrary to their religious beliefs — a quintessential irreparable injury.”
“Today’s ruling protects patients, aligns with current medical research, and ensures doctors aren’t forced to violate their religious beliefs and medical judgment,” Luke Goodrich of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said in reaction to the ruling.
Like many Christians whose legal battles have seized headlines over the last few years, Goodrich noted that the Franciscan Alliance’s hospitals and doctors “gladly serve all patients regardless of their sex or gender identity, yet were threatened with multimillion dollar penalties by a controversial HHS regulation if they refused to perform gender-transition procedures.”
“These religious doctors and hospitals joyfully serve ALL patients and routinely provide top-notch care to transgender patients. There is ample evidence, however, that some gender transition procedures can harm patients,” he noted.
“Several federal circuits — including the 5th and 1st — have all reached the same conclusion: ‘There is no medical consensus that sex reassignment surgery is a necessary or even effective treatment for gender dysphoria.”
The Biden administration has 60 days to appeal the ruling.
If you appreciate the work we are doing for faith, family, and freedom, please consider a small donation to help us continue. Thank you so much!