The Biden administration is appealing a district court decision in order to force doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children.
Oral argument for the case took place Thursday morning in New Orleans, Louisiana.
After inheriting a court case from the Obama administration over a “transgender mandate” that sought to force doctors to provide what the left describes as “gender-affirming care” to children, the Biden administration is challenging the district court decision to enjoin the Obama-era rule.
The Franciscan Alliance, a Catholic healthcare system, challenged the rule that was included as part of Obamacare because it “requires doctors and hospitals across the country to perform gender-transition procedures on any patient, including a child, even if the procedure violates the doctor’s conscience and could harm the patient.”
“No medical professional should be forced to participate in controversial and irreversible gender transition procedures that can be deeply harmful to patients,” Dr. André Van Mol, member of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, said in a press release. “The federal government has no business forcing doctors to violate their conscience, professional medical judgment, and Hippocratic Oath to ‘do no harm.’”
Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services, led by Secretary Xavier Becerra, is looking to push a similar rule that would still mandate these sorts of medical procedures “or else face severe financial penalties,” according to a press release from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty — the religious liberty law firm serving as counsel for Franciscan Alliance in the case.
The new proposed rule is somewhat vague on how far the Biden administration is willing to go with what they believe is “gender-affirming care” for children.
However, the definition provided for “gender-affirming care” in the proposed rule “may include, but is not necessarily limited to, counseling, hormone therapy, surgery, and other services designed to treat gender dysphoria or support gender affirmation or transition.”
Furthermore, Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, a man who identifies as a woman, has called for younger and younger “gender-affirming care” to “affirm and support and empower these youth.”
While heavy emphasis and advocacy has been put on this issue by the Biden administration, studies show that up to 94 percent (77–94 percent in one and 73–88 percent in another) of children who experience gender dysphoria grow out of it naturally. And yet, the Biden transgender mandate would arrest the capability for these children to grow out of it by at the very least damaging their ability to go through puberty.
“Franciscan Alliance and the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration seek to carry on Jesus Christ’s healing ministry by providing the best possible care to every person who comes through our doors,” Sister Petra Nielsen, Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration and member of the Corporate Board for Franciscan Alliance, said in a press release. “We are simply asking the courts to let us keep caring for all our patients with joy and compassion—as we’ve done for over 145 years.”
Doctors will remain protected against the transgender mandate if the appeals court decides to affirm the district court’s enjoinment.
“We asked the court today to let doctors keep caring for all patients with compassion, conscience, and common sense,” Joseph Davis, counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a press release. “We are hopeful the court will agree that the Transgender Mandate clearly violates federal law and doctors’ freedom of conscience.”
The case is Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra, No. 7:16-cv-00108-O, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.