The Biden administration has appealed a ruling seeking to force religious doctors and hospitals to perform harmful gender-transition procedures.

The controversy began under former President Barack Obama’s administration, which in 2016, issued a rule that has become known as the “Transgender Mandate.”

The mandate interprets a portion of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex,” to include “gender identity.”

The broad rule is estimated to apply to nearly every practicing physician in the United States along with 133,000 hospitals and clinics.

This broadening of discrimination “on the basis of sex” to include “gender identity” means that Christian doctors and hospitals must provide gender-transition procedures to patients, even if it violates their religious beliefs.

Because discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” would be prohibited, healthcare providers must deliver the same services to transgender individuals as they would to other individuals.

For example, a transgender man (biological woman) who wants a hysterectomy must be provided with it if the healthcare provider would provide a hysterectomy to other women. This would be true even if the provider believes that the removal of a healthy uterus would be harmful to the transgender individual.

Following adoption of the rule, federal courts have twice ruled against the mandate. In 2016, a judge in the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, preventing the federal government from enforcing the new rule.

And in January 2021, a federal judge for the District of North Dakota also struck down the mandate.

The Catholic organization The Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic Benefits Association challenged the mandate in the North Dakota court, and were represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

“HHS’s interpretation of Section 1557 that requires the Catholic Plaintiffs to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender-transition procedures violates their sincerely held religious beliefs,” the court said.

It is this ruling from the North Dakota judge that the Biden administration is appealing to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is widely viewed as one of the most conservative courts in the nation.

“The Biden Admin says it can punish doctors and hospitals for ‘sex discrimination’ unless they perform controversial gender-transition procedures,” said Luke Goodrich, a lawyer with the Becket Fund, on the administration’s decision to appeal the ruling. “The Transgender Mandate not only threatens religious doctors and hospitals. It also threatens patients, as there is ample evidence that certain gender transition procedures can be deeply harmful.”

“The Biden Admin shouldn’t have appealed. But we look forward to another ruling that protects patients, aligns with current medical research, and ensures doctors aren’t forced to violate their religious beliefs and professional medical judgment,” he added.

In our postmodern society, for the federal government, it apparently is no longer enough to ensure that transgender individuals can be provided with the care they desire. Rather, religious doctors and hospitals must be forced to provide the procedures.

When Christians are targeted by the government for their living in accordance with their faith, the question of whether to express civil disobedience can quickly arise.

Thankfully, Christians have organizations like the Becket Fund to represent them in the court of law, giving Christians an alternative to expressing civil disobedience.

The case is Sisters of Mercy v. Becerra.

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