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U.S. bishops warn against new HHS rule for transgender medicine


Jeffrey Bruno | Aleteia

John Burger - published on 07/28/22

Clarifying a section of Obamacare would negatively impact Catholic healthcare, prelates say.

Catholic health care ministries serve everyone, no matter what their race, sex, belief system, or any other characteristic.

So say four leading  bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States. The four, who chair committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) on religious freedom, pro-life activities and other concerns, felt it was important to remind people of that reality, lest anyone think that their opposition to a Biden Administration policy means they are discriminatory.

“The same excellent care will be provided in a Catholic hospital to all patients, including patients who identify as transgender, whether it be for a broken bone or for cancer,” the bishops stated on Wednesday, “but we cannot do what our faith forbids. We object to harmful procedures, not to patients.”

HHS moves to clarify Obamacare provisions

What caused them to issue such a statement was this week’s move on the part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services clarifying a section of “Obamacare,” the 2010 Affordable Care Act, to ensure that all medical practitioners and institutions be willing and able to provide things like transgender surgeries, abortions and assisted suicide.

“Sadly, Monday’s proposed regulations threaten our ability to carry out our healing ministries, and others’ to practice medicine. They mandate health care workers to perform life-altering surgeries to remove perfectly healthy body parts,” said the statement, signed by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York (pictured above) and three other archbishops. “Assurances that HHS will honor religious freedom laws offer little comfort when HHS is actively fighting court rulings that declared HHS violated religious freedom laws the last time they tried to impose such a mandate. This is a violation of religious freedom and bad medicine.”

The bishops said that the proposed regulations “announce that HHS is also considering whether to force health care workers to perform abortions against their will or lose their jobs. We call on HHS to explicitly disavow any such intent.”

Catholic doctors oppose the move

Earlier this week, the 2,400-member Catholic Medical Association called the proposed rule “coercive” and a “clear violation of First Amendment protections.” 

In addition to Cardinal Dolan, who is chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, Wednesday’s statement was signed by Archbishops William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

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