WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – On December 31, a Texas court struck down a federal regulation requiring doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children, even if the doctor believes the treatment could harm the child.
The ruling protects the rights of families and their doctors to make medical decisions for their child free from government bureaucrats’ interference.
The court ruling comes after eight states, an association of almost 18,000 doctors, and a Catholic hospital system challenged a federal regulation that requires doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children, even if the doctor believes the treatment could harm the child. Doctors who followed their Hippocratic Oath to act in the best interest of their patient would have faced severe consequences, including losing their jobs.
“This is a common-sense ruling: The government has no business forcing private doctors to perform procedures on children that the government itself recognizes can be harmful and exempts its own doctors from performing,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket Law (formerly the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty), which filed a lawsuit against the new federal regulation. “[The] ruling ensures that doctors’ best medical judgment will not be replaced with political agendas and bureaucratic interference.”
The new regulation applied to over 900,000 doctors—nearly every doctor in the U.S.—and would have cost healthcare providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion. The government itself does not require its own military doctors to perform these procedures. It also does not require coverage of gender transition procedures in Medicare or Medicaid—even for adults—because HHS’s medical experts that oversee those programs did not believe medical research demonstrates that gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes, with some studies demonstrating that these procedures were, in fact, harmful. But under the HHS rule developed by political appointees, doctors citing the same evidence and using their best medical judgment in an individual case would have faced potential lawsuits or job loss.
A recent 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 leaves without the need for surgery or lifelong hormone regimens.
“This court ruling is an across-the-board victory that will ensure that the deeply personal medical decision of a gender transition procedure remain between families and their doctor,” said Windham.
Becket Law defended 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 Becket’s legal challenge.