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The Biden administration has declined to challenge a federal ruling against a mandate which forced doctors and hospitals to perform gender-transitioning procedures with no protections for those with religious or conscience objections. The deadline for an appeal passed on June 20, leaving protections in place for religious-based medical facilities and staff.
The case goes back to 2016, when a reinterpretation of the Affordable Care Act placed requirements on hospitals nationwide to perform gender-transitioning procedures, even on children. The mandate was taken to federal court by a coalition of Catholic hospitals, universities, and nuns, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
In December 2022, the Eighth Circuit Court heard an appeal from the Biden administration, but ultimately upheld the decision of the lower court. The ruling agreed that medical professionals cannot be compelled to provide medical services that go against their religious beliefs. Now the matter has been put to rest and the protections for those who refuse gender-affirming interventions, based on religious objections are in place.
Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund For Religious Liberty, hailed the close of this contentious case, stating:
“After multiple defeats in court, the federal government has thrown in the towel on its controversial, medically unsupported transgender mandate. Doctors take a solemn oath to ‘do no harm,’ and they can’t keep that oath if the federal government is forcing them to perform harmful, irreversible procedures against their conscience and medical expertise.”
Goodrich went on to note that religious healthcare institutions “provide vital care to patients in need, including millions of dollars in free and low-cost care to the elderly, poor, and underserved.”
A reversal of the decision could have seen Catholic hospitals close, rather than offering procedures that go against what they believe to be in the best interest of patients. He called the final ruling “a win for patients, conscience, and common sense.”