Clinics sue feds over order to perform gender transitions


By Bob Unru

A number of health clinics, hospitals and a university have joined the state of North Dakota in a lawsuit against a new federal regulation that demands that doctors – all of the estimated 900,000 in America – be ready, willing and able to perform gender-transition procedures on children.

That’s even if the physician believes such treatment could harm the child.

The federal regulation, announced earlier this year, is the target of a lawsuit filed by the clients of the Becket Fund.

No doctor should be forced to perform a procedure that he or she believes will harm a child,” said Lori Windham, a senior counsel for the group. “Decisions on a child’s medical treatment should be between families and their doctors, not dictated by politicians and government bureaucrats.”

The lawsuit is on behalf of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Jackson, Minnesota; Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Alma, Mississippi; SMP Health System; the University of Mary; and North Dakota.

Defendants are HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and the federal agency.

The complaint alleges the demand is invalid under the Administrative Procedures Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the U.S. Constitution’s First, Fifth and 14th Amendments. It seeks a permanent injunction against the regulation as well as damages and costs.

Becket argues the government ”does not require Medicare and Medicaid to cover these same procedures, because Health & Human Services’ (HHS) own medical experts found the risks were often too high and benefits too unclear.”

Yet any private doctor who made the same decision about the risks would be in violation of the new mandate and face potential lawsuits or job loss.”

The group cites research showing that up to 94 percent of children with “gender dysphoria” will “grow out of their dysphoria naturally and will not need surgery or lifelong hormone regiments.”

There also are risks from heart disease and diabetes, and from breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.

The lawsuit states: “This regulation will cost healthcare providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion and affect up to 900,000 doctors – virtually every doctor in the U.S., many of whom have chosen the medical profession because they are inspired by their faith to serve those in need. But this regulation violates doctors’ ability to exercise both their best medical judgment and their religiously inspired desire to care for society’s most vulnerable.”

Windham called the HHS regulation “an unparalleled government overreach.”

This law not only forces doctors to violate the Hippocratic oath, but also removes their professional right to be the final decision-makers on the best medical care for their patients,” she said.

It’s the second lawsuit filed by the Becket Fund over the same leftist agenda. Becket previously launched a case on behalf of Franciscan Alliance and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

Becket has a website on the case at

The complaint asserts that “on pain of significant financial liability, the regulation forces doctors to perform controversial and sometimes harmful medical procedures ostensibly designed to permanently change an individual’s sex – including the sex of children.”

Under the new regulation, a doctor must perform these procedures even when they are contrary to the doctor’s medical judgment and could result in significant, long-term medical harm. Thus, the regulation represents a radical invasion of the federal bureaucracy into a doctor’s medical judgment.”

It explains the feds made the change simply by changing the historical meaning of the word “sex.”

For decades, across multiple federal statutes, Congress has consistently used the term ‘sex’ to refer to an individual’s status as male or female, as determined by a person’s biological sex at birth. But in the regulation, HHS redefines ‘sex’ to include ‘an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female, and which may be different from an individual’s sex assigned at birth.’”

The Obama administration has done this, “despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly rejected similar attempts to redefine ‘sex’ through legislation.”

Federal courts also have rejected such efforts, the complaint notes.

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