The following comes from a February 3 Catholic News Agency article by Loredana Vuoto:

A current proposal by a federal agency has raised concerns that doctors may be punished for believing that there are only two genders, rooted in biological sex.

The proposed rule, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says that it is aimed at banning discrimination against transgender individuals under the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act cites decades-old federal laws that prohibit any individual from being denied benefits or discriminated against in any health program or federally funded activity on the basis of race, color, nationality, sex, disability and age.

However, the Office of Civil Rights is now interpreting “sex” to include “gender identity” and “sex stereotypes.”

As a result, doctors and medical institutions could be penalized – or even forced out of business – if they are not willing to perform or facilitate sex reassignment surgeries and other “gender transition” treatments for individuals who identify as transsexual.

If finalized, the proposed regulation would be binding on all health insurers that offer plans under the Affordable Care Act, including those participating in health insurance exchange plans.

The regulation would also apply to approximately 133,000 health care facilities, all state Medicaid programs, all private insurers that receive federal funding, as well as almost all physicians in the United States who accept some form of federal reimbursement.

Failure to comply could result in a loss of government funding and other legal penalties.