Catholic Medical Association Joins HHS ‘Transgender Mandate’ Lawsuit

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PHILADELPHIA (CNS) – The Philadelphia-based Catholic Medical Association has joined a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s mandate that doctors and hospitals perform gender transition procedures on any patient despite any moral objection or medical doctor or health facility.

“Biological identity must remain the basis of patient treatment,” said Dr. Michael Parker, president of the association, a national community led by physicians of more than 2,300 health professionals in 114 local guilds.

The lawsuit was filed on August 26 in United States District Court by Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based national faith-based nonprofit that focuses on advocacy.

Dr. Jeanie Dassow, an OB-GYN doctor from Tennessee specializing in adolescent care, and the American College of Pediatricians, made up of more than 600 physicians and other health care professionals in 47 states who treat children, also join in pursuit.

A press release said the association and the college joined the lawsuit on behalf of their members. He was filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Chattanooga.

The lawsuit over what its opponents call a “transgender warrant” designates as accused Secretary Xavier Becerra, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Robinsue Frohboese, acting director and senior deputy of the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

Lawyers for Alliance Defending Freedom argue in the case that the HHS has reinterpreted section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits sex discrimination, “to include gender identity and therefore require interventions, services , surgeries and drugs on demand for gender transition, even for children. regardless of a doctor’s medical judgment, religious beliefs or conscientious objection. If doctors and hospitals do not comply, they will be held responsible for discrimination.

“This mandate not only puts the health and safety of our patients at risk, but it also obliges health care providers to give up their basic right to conscience,” Parker added in a statement. “It sets a dangerous precedent with untold implications for the ethical practice of medicine.”

Ryan Bangert, senior advocate for the alliance, said in a statement: “The laws of our country and the medical profession have long respected the biological differences between boys and girls and the unique needs they each present. health care.

“Forcing doctors to prescribe transitional hormones for 13-year-olds or to perform life-changing surgeries for teens is illegal, unethical and dangerous,” he said.

On August 9, a United States District Court judge ruled to block the so-called “transgender warrant” in its current form, as outlawed by the Biden administration.

Judge Reed O’Connor of the District Court for the North Texas District in Wichita Falls ruled in Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra.

Franciscan Alliance, based in Mishawaka, Indiana, is a Catholic health care system now known as Franciscan Health that operates hospitals serving Indiana and one hospital in Illinois and employs over 18,000 full-time staff and in part-time.

“Christian plaintiffs argue that the violation of their statutory rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is irreparable harm,” O’Connor said in his ruling.

“The tribunal agrees,” he said, “and concludes that the application of the 2021 interpretation (of section 1557) requires Christian plaintiffs to face civil penalties or to perform gender transition procedures and abortions contrary to their religious beliefs – an irreparable wound par excellence. “

“The court grants the plaintiffs’ request for a permanent injunction and permanently bars” HHS, Becerra and all HHS-related divisions, agencies and employees “from interpreting or applying Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

In 2020, the Trump administration put in place a final rule that removed the blanket prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity and also passed abortion and religious freedom exemptions for providers. health care. But the courts blocked this rule change.

In 2021, shortly after his inauguration, President Joe Biden issued an executive order declaring his administration to apply in all areas – including the ACA – the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bostock in 2020 that discrimination based on sex prohibited Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from covering homosexual or transgender people.

O’Connor’s decision is “a victory for common sense, conscience and healthy medicine,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior advisor of the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Franciscan Alliance case.

On January 19, the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota in Fargo blocked the warrant, ruling in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Franciscan Alliance / Franciscan Health and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. The states of Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska and Wisconsin also joined the lawsuit.

The Biden administration appealed the ruling on April 20 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, based in St. Louis.

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Copyright © 2021 Catholic News Service / United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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