Last Saturday, Federal Judge Reed O’Connor granted a preliminary injunction against a health care mandate (Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act) that would require doctors and hospitals (even religious ones) to provide transgender health services. The mandate went into effect for many on January 1st, and requires religious doctors to violate their medical judgement and religious beliefs to perform gender reassignment surgeries and other transgender procedures.
“Hospitals and health care enters could face the crippling loss of Medicaid and Medicare funding if they do not obey the regulation,” Justice O’Connor wrote in a 62-page ruling. O’ Conner also noted that the mandate “likely violates” the Religious Freedom Restoration Act since it does not include any religious exemptions required by Title IX.
The Christian Post reports:
“This is a common-sense ruling: The government has no business forcing private doctors to perform procedures on children that the government itself recognizes can be harmful and exempts its own doctors from performing,” Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket Law said in a statement shared with The Christian Post. “Today’s ruling ensures that doctors’ best medical judgment will not be replaced with political agendas and bureaucratic interference.”
Judge O’Connor’s actions temporarily protect the states of Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, and Kentucky, as well as religiously affiliated organizations like the Franciscan Alliance, Specialty Physicians of Illinois, and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations from providing or funding certain services that they believe to be morally wrong or medically harmful – such as gender or sex reassignment surgeries, abortions, or access to certain contraceptives such as the morning after pill.
This is the second time in the past year that Judge O’Connor has ruled in favor of conservatives and Christians when it comes to transgender rights issues, the first being his ruling in August blocking the Obama administration’s guidelines saying “schools must treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex to comply with federal nondiscrimination statutes.”
According to the Texas Tribune:
The health care providers and the state are claiming that the federal government is redefining the term “sex” to “thwart decades of settled precedent” and impose “massive new obligations” on health care providers.
O’Connor on Saturday agreed with the plaintiffs on this front, saying the federal government had “revised” discrimination based on sex.
The judge also ruled that the new rule “imposes a substantial burden” on private health care providers’ religious exercise because it does not include a blanket exemption for religiously affiliated health care organizations.
With so many legitimate concerns raised in the lawsuit, it’s no wonder that Judge O’Connor was able to easily grant the injunction. The Supreme Court has recently ruled continually in favor of the transgender community – some would justly say without regard to the well being of the general population – but conservatives are hopeful that the next presidential administration and Supreme Court picks will usher in a more balanced approach to protecting against all forms of discrimination, while still supporting the religious liberty of all it’s citizens.