WASHINGTON, D.C., May 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The same day last week the Obama Administration threatened the nation’s public schools with the loss of federal funding lest they comply with its rendering of gender theory, the White House dropped an even worse threat on healthcare institutions accepting government dollars.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the final rule for Obamacare’s Section 1557 last Friday, requiring healthcare providers receiving federal funds to perform “gender transition” services and abortions, or face termination of government aid, along with possible referral to the Department of Justice for legal action.
HHS states the rule “will help to advance equity and reduce health disparities by protecting some of the populations that have been most vulnerable to discrimination in the health care context.”
It encompasses any health program or activity, any part of which gets HHS funding, which would mean hospitals accepting Medicare and doctors who accept Medicaid, and any HHS-administered health program, as well as health insurance marketplaces and issuers that take part in those marketplaces.
The HHS claims the new rule “builds on prior Federal civil rights laws to prohibit sex discrimination in health care” and “also prohibits the denial of health care or health coverage based on an individual’s sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping. The final rule also requires covered health programs and activities to treat individuals consistent with their gender identity.”
The USCCB and other religiously affiliated groups had opposed the rule’s imposing coverage of abortion and “gender reassignment” treatment last fall.
The rule’s language indicates that it does not repeal current religious exemptions for faith-based healthcare providers, stating, “The final rule on Section 1557 does not include a religious exemption; however, the final rule does not displace existing protections for religious freedom and conscience.”
Nonetheless, it drew condemnation from religious liberty and family advocates for its lack of constitutionality and imposition of gender identity and abortion.
“As bad as the ACA is, it’s laughable to suggest that when Congress referred to ‘sex’ in Section 1557 it was referring to anything other than biological sex,” stated Ken Klukowski, attorney with First Liberty Institute and Breitbart News legal editor.
“This is Orwellian,” Klukowski wrote at Breitbart. “But beyond that, it is an unconstitutional assault on the First Amendment that the Obama administration is forcing their rejection of biological fact onto people whose faith teaches that ‘man’ and ‘woman’ refer to what they have meant for thousands of years, and that God purposefully created them that way.”
The executive director for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Doctor Jane Orient, said the government was presuming to dictate medical ethics through the rule, and it would lead to doctors and hospitals discontinuing acceptance of Medicare and Medicaid.
Orient decried the medical danger in the Obama Administration’s imposition of gender ideology as well.
“Transgender treatment, especially to minors, inflicts irreversible harm on persons too young to consent,” she stated. “It constitutes radical, non-consented social experimentation. Chemical or surgical castration should be considered a crime against humanity.”
“Affirming a patient’s delusions (e.g. that he really is a she) is considered psychiatric malpractice in other contexts,” Orient continued.
The Family Research Council (FRC) also criticized the Obamacare rule, and called upon Congress for redress.
“HHS's final rule concocts out of thin air a redefinition of sex discrimination to include both gender identity and abortion,” FRC Vice President of Government Affairs David Christensen said in a statement. “This intolerant and unjust rule, in turn, threatens to force health care providers to participate in and perform services that substantially violate their consciences.”
Christensen called the rule regulatory overreach, and drew a parallel with the Obama Administration’s forcing gender identity on the nation’s public schools earlier last Friday under the guise of sex discrimination.
“This action erodes Americans' freedom to believe and act in accordance with their beliefs,” Christensen stated, “not only as it relates to the privacy of the bathrooms but also now when it comes to the taking of innocent human life.”