An Obama-era law that outlines requirements for faith-based hospitals, insurance providers and doctors to perform gender-reassignment surgeries may be eliminated.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has submitted a proposal to the White House that would eliminate a 2016 law that required health care providers to perform and provide gender-reassignment surgeries and procedures.
The proposal comes after Judge Reed O’Connor in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide injunction against the mandate in 2016. He said the rule would violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Meanwhile, LGBT supporters and a former Obama administration official, says reversing the mandate would be “potentially devastating.”
“If the Trump administration rescinds the protections against sex stereotyping and gender identity discrimination, the effect will be potentially devastating not just for the trans community, but for any other patients who are gender-nonconforming, including lesbian and gay individuals," Jocelyn Samuels, the director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights under Obama who helped implement the rule, told The New York Times.
The original mandate applied to most doctors and hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid. Under the rule, those facilities could not turn away patients who wanted hormone therapy or gender transition procedures. Some of those procedures include mastectomy, hysterectomy and surgical castration.
In response to the mandate, a number of states, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, Franciscan Alliance and Specialty Physicians of Illinois filed a lawsuit.
“Under the new regulation, a doctor must perform these procedures even when they are contrary to the doctor's medical judgment and could result in significant, long-term medical harm," the lawsuit stated. "Thus, the regulation represents a radical invasion of the federal bureaucracy into a doctor's medical judgment."
The Catholic Benefits Association, which represents some 60 Catholic organizations and archdioceses, also filed a lawsuit against the regulation.
“When our member, who is a Catholic diocese, received this, their statement to me was 'How can we, a Catholic diocese that teaches what we teach regarding biology and sex, possibly give this plan to our members without creating scandal since it is so contrary to what we teach?" CBA Attorney Martin Nussbaum told The Christian Post in 2016.
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Publication date: April 24, 2018