Press Release

Doctors challenge harmful Transgender Mandate Fifth Circuit to decide if Biden Administration can force doctors to perform gender transition procedures

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

Franciscan Alliance

WASHINGTON – The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just heard a case involving a challenge to the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that requires doctors to perform harmful, irreversible gender transition procedures against their conscience and best medical judgment. In Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra a group of doctors and hospitals argue that the Biden Administration’s mandate violates their medical conscience rights and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  

“Franciscan Alliance and the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration seek to carry on Jesus Christ’s healing ministry by providing the best possible care to every person who comes through our doors,” said Sister Petra Nielsen, Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration and member of the Corporate Board for Franciscan Alliance. “We are simply asking the courts to let us keep caring for all our patients with joy and compassion—as we’ve done for over 145 years.” 

In 2016, almost 20,000 healthcare professionals, eight states and two religious hospitals challenged the HHS requirement in a federal district court in Texas. After years of litigation, including an appeal to the Fifth Circuit and a remand, a federal district court granted this relief to the doctors and hospitals involved and protected their medical conscience rights. In response, the federal government, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, appealed the ruling back to the Fifth Circuit to force doctors to perform these controversial, harmful procedures. 

“No medical professional should be forced to participate in controversial and irreversible gender transition procedures that can be deeply harmful to patients,” said Dr. André Van Mol, member of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations. “The federal government has no business forcing doctors to violate their conscience, professional medical judgment, and Hippocratic Oath to ‘do no harm.’”  

The government’s requirement, known as the Transgender Mandate, is an HHS rule that forces doctors and other medical professionals to perform gender transition procedures, even if it goes against their conscience and medical judgment. It also requires private employers to cover these procedures or be threatened with crippling fines and potential litigation. Just last week, the Biden administration proposed a new, revised version of the mandate this week, but it will remain unenforceable against tens of thousands of religious doctors and hospitals across the country if the Fifth Circuit affirms the lower court’s ruling in this case.  

“We asked the court today to let doctors keep caring for all patients with compassion, conscience, and common sense,” said Joseph Davis, counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “We are hopeful the court will agree that the Transgender Mandate clearly violates federal law and doctors’ freedom of conscience.”  

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby at or 202-349-7219. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. 

Becket 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 25 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more here).