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Monday, January 16, 2017

CMA court victory protects doctors on transgender decisions

In the waning days of the Obama administration in 2016, the US Department of Health and Human Services launched a new regulation aimed at conforming all healthcare professionals and facilities to the Obama administration's ideology on transgender issues.
The rule left no room for medical judgment or religious objection regarding treatments and procedures demanded by patients who did not want to remain the biological sex they were born with.
To protect the right of medical professionals to (a) exercise medical judgment based on research and evidence regarding transgender issues and (b) to exercise First Amendment religious freedom based on faith convictions, the Christian Medical Association launched a lawsuit to fight the government's coercion. We enlisted the services of Becket Law, known for its many victories for religious freedom, notably the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor Supreme Court cases.
On New Year's eve, a federal judge issued a favorable ruling, a preliminary judgment to stop enforcement of the aspects of the rule objected to in the CMA lawsuit. Becket Law announced the victory on December 31, 2017:

Court strikes down harmful transgender mandate

Ruling protects children and doctors, hospitals from federal regulation
For Immediate Release: December 31, 2016
Media Contact: Melinda Skea | media@becketfund.org | 202-349-7224
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Moments ago a Texas court protected the rights of families and their doctors to make medical decisions for their child free from government bureaucrats’ interference.
The court ruling comes after eight states, an association of almost 18,000 doctors, and a Catholic hospital system challenged a federal regulation that requires doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children, even if the doctor believes the treatment could harm the child. Doctors who followed their Hippocratic Oath to act in the best interest of their patient would have faced severe consequences, including losing their job.
“This is a common-sense ruling: The government has no business forcing private doctors to perform procedures that the government itself recognizes can be harmful, particularly to children, and that the government exempts its own doctors from performing,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket Law, which filed a lawsuit against the new federal regulation. “Today’s ruling ensures that doctors’ best medical judgment will not be replaced with political agendas and bureaucratic interference.”  
The new regulation applied to over 900,000 doctors—nearly every doctor in the U.S.—and would have cost healthcare providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion. The government itself does not require its own military doctors to perform these procedures. It also does not require blanket coverage of gender transition procedures in Medicare or Medicaid—even in adults—because HHS’s experts admitted research is “‘inconclusive’ on whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes,” with some studies demonstrating that these procedures were actually harmful. But a doctor citing the same evidence and using their best medical judgment would have faced potential lawsuits or job loss. 
 A recent website provides leading research on this issue, including guidance the government itself relies on, demonstrating that up to 94 percent of children with gender dysphoria (77 to 94 percent in one set of studies and 73 to 88 percent in another) will grow out of their dysphoria naturally and live healthy lives without the need for surgery or lifelong hormone regimens.
“This court ruling is an across-the-board victory that will ensure that deeply personal medical decisions, such as gender transition procedures, remain between families and their doctor,” said Windham.
Becket Law defended Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations from the new government regulation. The States of Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Arizona, and Mississippi joined Becket’s legal challenge. More information can be found at www.transgendermandate.org.
For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at media@becketfund.org or 202-349-7224.  Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
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