Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Revoke Trump’s Religious Freedom and Conscience Protections for Medical Professionals

In the waning months of the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted a rule to carry out a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Section 1557, the Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities, to bar discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in any health program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. The administration redefined “on the basis of sex” to include “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.”

Under President Donald Trump, the HHS Office for Civil Rights announced a final rule to protect the religious freedom and conscience of individuals and health care entities from discrimination in HHS-funded programs, narrowing the scope of Section 1557.

President Joe Biden set out to undo these protections, citing the “conservative” U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which bars employment discrimination against “transgender” people. The Biden administration interprets Section 1557 of the ACA as requiring doctors and other medical professionals who receive federal funding to perform gender “transition” surgery and kill the unborn, even if they have religious or moral objections.

HHS recently announced a rule to Section 1557 that “restores and strengthens civil rights protections for patients and consumers in certain federally funded health programs and HHS programs after the 2020 version of the rule limited its scope and power to cover fewer programs and services.” [emphasis added] HHS cites Bostock, although the context in that case was employment, not health care.

What leftists are doing isn’t merely barring doctors from treating homosexuals or people pretending to be the opposite sex. You’d probably be hard-pressed to cite an example of a medical professional refusing to treat such a person (in procedures that don’t involve “transitioning.”) But what the administration actually is trying to do is penalize medical professionals who refuse to mutilate children.

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