Even as his poll numbers have crashed, President Joe Biden is still doing all he can to undo President Donald Trump’s protections for religious employers and health care providers.
The Biden administration has interpreted Section 1157 of the Affordable Health Care Act to require Christian for-profit and non-profit companies that receive federal funds to pay for and perform “gender transition” services, including surgery and counseling. The consequences for refusing to do any of these services are enormous. For example, businesses that refuse to comply could face loss of federal funding, civil liabilities, government investigations, lawsuits, and criminal penalties.
The Christian Employers Alliance filed a lawsuit against officials in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Office of Civil Rights in HHS. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents the group, announced that a federal court temporarily blocked the mandates.
The lawsuit argues that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is misinterpreting and improperly enforcing discrimination based on sex in Title VII to force religious employers to pay for and provide health insurance coverage for such surgeries and procedures. Additionally, the lawsuit challenges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ reinterpretation of “sex” in federal law to include gender identity, thereby forcing religious healthcare providers who receive federal funding to physically perform or facilitate surgeries and procedures that conflict with their deeply held beliefs.
The court found that the Christian Employers Alliance likely would prevail on the issue and blocked the mandates while the case is pending.
The court contended (PDF — 18 pages) that government agencies shouldn’t “be in the business of evaluating the sincerity of another’s religious beliefs.” The court said HHS Guidance encourages parents to file a discrimination complaint if a provider refuses to perform “gender transition” surgery on their children, including infants.
“Indeed, the HHS Guidance specifically invites the public to file complaints for acting in a manner the Alliance says is consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs,” the judge wrote. “The Alliance must either violate its sincerely held beliefs or face monetary losses, fines and even civil liabilities. The Plaintiffs and their members face a very real irreparable harm if they are either forced to comply or if they refuse to comply.”
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