Press Release

States urge court to protect children from harmful mandate Government regulation interferes with doctor-patient relationship

Media Contact

Melinda Skea 202-349-7224 media@becketlaw.org

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eight states, a group representing thousands of doctors, and a Catholic hospital system urged a federal court on Friday to stop the new transgender mandate, an unprecedented federal regulation that requires doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children, even if the doctor believes the treatment could harm the child.

The motion argued that the new mandate “has created massive new liability for thousands of doctors unless they cast aside their convictions and perform procedures that can be deeply harmful to their patients.” Last week, over 45 members of Congress wrote a letter criticizing HHS’ interference with doctor-patient relationships and failure to protect doctors’ medical judgment.

“It is absurd for the government to think it can better decide what is best for a child over parents or a medically trained professional,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed a lawsuit against the new federal regulation. “Doctors should be free to use their best medical judgment and do what is in the best interest of a child, free from political agendas and interference by bureaucrats.”

A new 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.

The new regulation applies to over 900,000 doctors—nearly every doctor in the U.S.—and will cost healthcare providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion. The government itself does not require coverage of gender transition procedures in Medicare or Medicaid—even in adults—because HHS’s experts “admit clinical literature is ‘inconclusive’ on whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria,” with some studies demonstrating that these procedures were actually harmful. But any doctor citing the same evidence and his or her judgment in an individual case would be in violation of the new regulation and face potential lawsuits or job loss.

“The government itself admits that these procedures are harmful and exempts its own Medicare and Medicaid plans from having to provide them, yet is forcing private doctors to ignore their medical judgment and potentially harm children,” said Windham.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is defending 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 the Becket Fund’s legal challenge. More information can be found at www.transgendermandate.org.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a BecketFund attorney, please contact Melinda Skea atmedia@becketfund.orgor 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

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The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court.  For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians(read more here).