The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted a rule in 2016 to carry out a provision in the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) 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.”
In practice, this meant that doctors and other medical professionals with religious or moral objections to performing gender “transition” surgery and abortions faced government penalties if they declined to perform these procedures. After courts ruled the mandate unlawful, the Trump administration rescinded the rule.
But as expected, President Joe Biden set about undoing conscience protections, citing the 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.
A federal court permanently blocked (PDF) HHS from enforcing the mandate against a group of Roman Catholic plaintiffs in April. Now a different court has permanently blocked (PDF) the mandate’s enforcement against the Franciscan Alliance and other parties.
The federal court agreed with the plaintiffs that the “violation of their statutory rights under RFRA [federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act] is an irreparable harm. The Court agrees and concludes that enforcement of the 2021 Interpretation forces Christian Plaintiffs to face civil penalties or to perform gender-transition procedures and abortions contrary to their religious beliefs—a quintessential irreparable injury.”
Court cases like these don’t end the war. Religious Americans, especially Christians, must endure one battle at a time, thanks in part to our “conservative” Supreme Court.