DALLAS (ChurchMilitant.com) - A federal mandate demanding doctors to perform sex reassignment surgery is prompting five states and a coalition of medical professionals to sue the Obama administration.
The suit, filed Tuesday in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, asserts a provision within the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, is in direct violation of both the religious freedom and medical discernment of hospitals and physicians. The clause in question, tacked onto 2010's ACA by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last month, states doctors are forbidden from denying transgender individuals access to sex reassignment surgery or hormonal treatment, regardless of the physician's personal objections towards the procedures.
The 79-page suit, filed on behalf of the states of Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky and Kansas, challenges the federal government's attempt to "override the medical judgment of healthcare professionals across the country" and signifies a "radical invasion of the federal bureaucracy" into the medical profession.
Additionally cited in the lawsuit is the HHS's purported effort to redefine the word "sex" in order to accommodate individuals suffering from gender dysphoria, or transgenderism.
"Thus, with a single stroke of the pen, HHS has created a massive new liability for thousands of healthcare professionals unless they cast aside their medical judgment and perform controversial and even harmful medical transition procedures," the text of the suit reads. "The Regulation not only forces healthcare professionals to violate their medical judgment, it also forces them to violate their deeply held religious beliefs."
Included in the protection of the ACA clause are children who believe themselves to be the opposite gender and are seeking gender reassignment.
"It's a very rare moment in history when the government would force doctors to go against their conscience and their medical judgment and perform procedures that may be deeply harmful to patients," remarked Luke Goodrich of the Becket Fund, the legal representation for the Franciscan Alliance and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. Both organizations have added their names to the five-state lawsuit; an additional group, Specialty Physicians of Illinois, is also part of the suit.
The Becket Fund most notably headed the 2014 challenge to the HHS contraception mandate involving Christian arts and crafts company, Hobby Lobby.
Critics of the lawsuit argue the plaintiffs are blowing the HHS clause out a proportion. "The only thing a doctor is obliged to do is treat all patients, including trans patients, with dignity and respect and to make treatment decisions free from bias," states Jillian Weiss of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. "If a doctor has a sound, evidence-based, medical reason to delay transition care for a specific patient, that would be respected under the regulations."
Filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the Tuesday lawsuit comes on the heels of a successful motion, also spearheaded by Paxton, to block the Obama administration's attempt to force public schools nationwide to grant transgender students access to the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choosing. The temporary injunction, signed Sunday by Pres. George W. Bush-appointee Judge Reed O'Connor, contends the use of the word "sex" in the Title IX regulations, which forbids discrimination in schools, is "not ambiguous" and refers specifically to biological gender, not assumed gender.
"This president is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform. That cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we took action to protect states and school districts," Paxton stated prior to Sunday's decision.
The injunction applies nationwide, according to Judge O'Connor's ruling.
The Catholic Church has clearly maintained Her position against the push for gender identity rights, with Pope Benedict XVI declaring in 2012, "The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious." Likewise, Pope Francis has denounced transgender ideology, decrying the "ideological colonization" being forced on children.