Press Release

Federal government backs down on transgender mandate Biden Admin declines to appeal ruling protecting religious doctors from performing controversial gender transitions

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Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

Franciscan Alliance

WASHINGTON The Biden Administration yesterday declined to appeal a federal court ruling that stops the government from forcing religious doctors and hospitals to perform controversial gender-transition procedures against their conscience and professional medical judgment. The decision in Sisters of Mercy v. Becerra is now the second time a federal appeals court has blocked the Administration’s mandate, and the second time the Administration has chosen not to seek Supreme Court review. The rulings mark a victory for compassionate, evidence-based healthcare and protect religious doctors and hospitals across the country from suffering multimillion-dollar penalties for following their religious beliefs, conscience, and informed medical judgment.  

In 2016, the federal government reinterpreted the Affordable Care Act to require doctors and hospitals across the country to perform controversial gender-transition procedures, including on children, even when doing so would violate doctors’ consciences and could harm the patient. A coalition of Catholic hospitals, a Catholic university, and Catholic nuns who run health clinics for the elderly and poor sued the federal government to stop the mandate, and a federal court agreed that the mandate was unlawful and permanently blocked it from taking effect. When the Biden Administration appealed that decision, the Eighth Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision. Today, the government let the final deadline for appealing to the Supreme Court expire, putting this harmful and unlawful mandate to rest. 

“After multiple defeats in court, the federal government has thrown in the towel on its controversial, medically unsupported transgender mandate,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket. “Doctors take a solemn oath to ‘do no harm,’ and they can’t keep that oath if the federal government is forcing them to perform harmful, irreversible procedures against their conscience and medical expertise.”  

This case is Becket’s second successful challenge to the transgender mandate. In Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra, Becket defended a religious hospital network sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations. Becket won a victory for its clients at the Fifth Circuit, and the Biden Administration also declined to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court.   

“These religious doctors and hospitals provide vital care to patients in need, including millions of dollars in free and low-cost care to the elderly, poor, and underserved,” said Goodrich. “This is a win for patients, conscience, and common sense.”  

The government’s deadline to appeal the case to the Supreme Court was June 20. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby at or202-349-7219.Interviews can be arranged in English, Mandarin, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.