WASHINGTON, D.C. – The State of North Dakota along with several hospitals, a university, and health clinics, filed a lawsuit today challenging a new federal regulation. The new regulation forces doctors to ignore science and their medical judgment and perform gender transition procedures on children, even if the doctor believes the treatment could harm the child.
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.
“No doctor should be forced to perform a procedure that he or she believes will harm a child,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Decisions on a child’s medical treatment should be between families and their doctors, not dictated by politicians and government bureaucrats.”
A new website provides leading research on this issue, including studies the government itself relies on finding 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 will not need surgery or lifelong hormone regimens. Studies also show that there are numerous negative effects when children undergo hormone regimens, such as increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.
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.
“HHS’ regulation is 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,” said Windham.
The Becket Fund filed a lawsuit today in North Dakota federal district court defending the state of North Dakota, the Sisters of Mercy, the University of Mary, and SMP Health System, a non-profit hospital system founded by nuns in North Dakota. Last month, Becket, joined by eight other state governments, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, defending them from the new government regulation. More information can be found at www.transgendermandate.org.
For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket Fund attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
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).