Court rules Catholic medical centers don’t have to perform transgender surgeries

According to the Washington Examiner, a federal court has just ruled that the government can’t force a Catholic medical center to perform transgender surgeries. 

It’s a rare win for common sense.

Background

This, ultimately, stems from former President Barack Obama’s “Transgender Mandate.” The mandate is part of the Affordable Care Act.

Just the News reports:

In 2016, HHS put forward a rule that determined that religious hospitals were subject to non-discrimination provisions under the Affordable Care Act and that would require them to perform gender transitions. Said mandate would require doctors to perform such surgeries on any patient, including minors, even should the physician believe the procedure would harm the patient.

This mandate has faced widespread challenges. And, this particular challenge comes from a coalition of Catholics that includes Catholic hospitals.

The Catholics’ argument is simple enough: it is a violation of federal religious protections – specifically, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) – to force them to perform a medical procedure that is against their religious beliefs.

It turns out the argument isn’t only simple: it is also effective.

Sisters of Mercy, et al. v. Azar

On Friday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Catholic group’s request for a permanent injunction against the so-called Transgender Mandate.

U.S. District Court Judge Peter Welte wrote:

The Catholic Plaintiffs have demonstrated an entitlement to permanent injunctive relief. An RFRA violation is comparable to the deprivation of a First Amendment right. Having weighed the pertinent factors, the Court will permanently enjoin the Defendants from enforcing the successfully challenged interpretations of federal law against the Catholic Plaintiffs.

The decision prevents HHS from:

implementing regulations thereto against the Catholic Plaintiffs in a manner that would require them to perform or provide insurance coverage for gender-transition procedures, including by denying federal financial assistance because of their failure to perform or provide insurance coverage for such procedures or by otherwise pursuing, charging, or assessing any penalties, fines, assessments, investigations, or other enforcement actions.

It remains unclear whether the Biden administration will appeal the decision.

Victory!

For now, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the Catholics, is celebrating.

Becket Senior Counsel Luke Goodrich said:

All the plaintiffs in these cases joyfully serve transgender patients for everything from cancer to the common cold. It’s just that certain gender transition procedures they believe based on strong medical evidence can actually be deeply harmful to their patients.

“The court’s decision recognizes our medical heroes’ right to practice medicine in line with their conscience and without politically motivated interference from government bureaucrats,” Goodrich added.