Two medical associations have sued the federal government to stop the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) mandate that would require doctors, including those with religious and moral objections, to mutilate adults and children who want to “change” their sex.
The American College of Pediatricians and the Catholic Medical Association filed a lawsuit against HHS and its Office of Civil Rights in 2021 and asked the court to determine whether the government can enforce the “transgender” mandate against them, regardless of their medical judgment or conscientious objections.
On the face of it, the answer is no. But that doesn’t mean the federal government won’t retaliate against these doctors.
The Biden administration, like the Obama administration before it, interprets the word “sex” in federal anti-discrimination law to include sexual orientation and “gender identity,” even though Congress did not intend for the word “sex” to be interpreted this way and has not amended the law to expand the word’s definition.
If doctors refuse to perform “transgender” procedures, they could be accused of discrimination and lose their livelihoods. From the complaint (PDF):
“The gender identity mandate both restricts Plaintiffs’ speech and compels their speech…Plaintiffs oppose the gender identity mandate’s requirements of, and restrictions on, their speech including: having to offer and refer for gender interventions; the use of pronouns; medical screening questions; medical coding and record keeping; referrals; policies governing speech and information at their medical practices…” (emphasis added)
The plaintiffs also contend that the mandate violates the Free Exercise and the Due Process Clauses.
A lower court ruled that the medical professionals did not have standing to bring their claims and that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the claims. The court granted the government’s motion to dismiss.
The American College of Pediatricians and the Catholic Medical Association appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Alliance Defending Freedom, the plaintiffs’ legal counsel, announced this week that the court recently heard arguments in the case.
ADF Senior Counsel Chris Schandevel, who argued the case on behalf of the medical associations, said that HHS “is grossly overreaching its authority and, in so doing, putting children’s psychological and physical health in danger. Our clients are rightfully objecting on medical, ethical, religious, and conscientious grounds to this unlawful government mandate.”
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