The Biden administration is appealing to keep in place a mandate that doctors and hospitals provide gender-transition surgeries, regardless of their conscientious beliefs.
On Tuesday, the legal group Becket – which represents Catholic doctors and hospitals in their case against the “transgender mandate” – reported that the administration had filed an appeal to keep the mandate in place.
“The Biden Admin just filed an appeal seeking to force religious doctors and hospitals to perform potentially harmful gender-transition procedures against their conscience and professional medical judgment,” stated Luke Goodrich, VP and senior counsel at Becket, on Twitter on Tuesday.
The Obama administration in 2016 first issued the mandate, interpreting a nondiscrimination provision in the Affordable Care Act to require doctors and hospitals to provide gender-transition surgeries upon the referral of a mental health professional.
The mandate did not include exemptions for religion and conscience, thus applying even to doctors and hospitals with conscientious or even medical opposition to performing gender-transition surgeries.
As almost all doctors receive Medicare and Medicaid funds, the mandate as attached to federal funding would apply almost universally, Becket argued.
“The Biden Admin says it can punish doctors and hospitals for ‘sex discrimination’ unless they perform controversial gender-transition procedures,” Goodrich tweeted on Tuesday.
More than 19,000 healthcare professionals, nine states, and several religious organizations filed two lawsuits against the mandate; in December 2016, two federal courts placed an injunction on the mandate.
Two more federal district court judges ruled against the mandate in 2019 and 2021. In January, a judge in North Dakota granted permanent injunctive relief to Catholic doctors, hospitals, clinics, and benefits groups that sued over the mandate.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration appealed that ruling, asking that the mandate stay in effect. “This is bad for patients, doctors, and religious liberty,” Goodrich said.
The above comes from an April 20 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.