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Huge Win For Religious Freedom as Court Stops Biden’s Administration’s Plans To Force Doctors To Perform These Surgeries

On Friday, a federal judge ruled against an attempt by President Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services to compel physicians to conduct genital mutilation operations against their religious and moral convictions. 

According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit law firm that defends religious freedom, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra thata Catholic healthcare network and a group of nearly 19,000 healthcare professionals cannot be required to carry out these procedures in violation of their deeply held beliefs and professional medical judgment.” 

In May 2016, as part of Obamacare, HHS first demanded that doctors undertake incorrectly named “sex-reassignment” procedures. Following the judgment on Friday, Becket stated that the mandate would have obliged doctors to execute the treatments on any patient, including children, regardless of whether or not doing so was in accordance with their morality or professional medical assessment.

In August 2016, a group comprising thousands of medical professionals, 2 hospitals, and 8 states filed a challenge to the original Obamacare provision in a court in the Southern District of Texas. After a preliminary judgment in December 2016 determined that this was “unlawful overreach by a federal agency,” the court ultimately upheld that decision in 2019. As a result, Becket appealed on behalf of the challengers since the court did not grant an order permanently prohibiting the government from enforcing this illegal obligation on religious hospitals and doctors.

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Health and Human Services under President Joe Biden have persisted in expanding the definition of gender bias in health care to include so-called “gender identity” after the 2016 Obamacare mandate and subsequent Supreme Court judgment in Bostock v. Clayton County. HHS warned in March that “attempts to restrict” transgender procedures were “hazardous,” and earlier this month, it submitted a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” that, if approved, would oblige hospitals to provide both mutilative transgender surgery and abortions. 

According to a press statement from Becket attorney Joseph Davis, “the verdict is a tremendous victory for conscience rights and compassionate medical care in America. Doctors cannot do their jobs and comply with the Hippocratic Oath if the government requires them to perform harmful, irreversible procedures against their conscience and medical expertise.” 

Additionally, Davis stated that this victory “ensures that these doctors and hospitals may continue to conduct this essential job in line with their conscience and professional medical judgment.” 

Becket has previously fought the Department of Health and Human Services for the right to religious freedom. To combat an HHS mandate requiring employers to include contraception in health insurance plans, the company filed suit on behalf of the Catholic group Little Sisters of the Poor in 2013. The Catholic group eventually won after a drawn-out legal struggle that reached the Supreme Court.