Thank God for Texas! A judge in the Lone Star State has officially (if temporarily) blocked Obama’s Executive Order that mandates doctors provide for transgender care. It was set to go into force today, but it was stopped cold and surely pissed Obama off. The unconstitutional rule would have forced doctors to provide procedures for gender transitions, regardless of moral or religious objections. There must be a lot of physicians out there today breathing a huge sigh of relief.
The Becket Fund, which is representing Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arizona and Mississippi along with the Franciscan Alliance and several other religiously affiliated organizations, is proclaiming that the ruling ensures that doctors won’t be forced into going against their best medical judgement or violate their religious beliefs. Looks like most of the sane judges out there are in Texas these days.
The judge also ruled that plaintiffs were likely to prevail in court on their claim that the new policy infringes on the rights of private healthcare providers under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
As explained in O’Connor’s 46-page opinion, the plaintiffs argued that the new regulation would “require them to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions, regardless of their contrary religious beliefs or medical judgment.”
The same judge issued a similar court order in August blocking a separate Obama administration policy that would have required public schools, over the objections of 13 states, to allow transgender students to use restrooms of their choice.
It was not immediately clear whether the Obama administration, which has just 20 days left in office, would seek to appeal the latest injunction.
White House spokeswoman Katie Hill decried the ruling.
“Today’s decision is a setback, but hopefully a temporary one, since all Americans – regardless of their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation – should have access to quality, affordable health care free from discrimination,” she said.
“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 Becket Fund senior counsel Lori Windham. “Today’s ruling ensures that doctors’ best medical judgement will not be replaced with political agendas and bureaucratic interference.” She’s absolutely right on this. This whole thing is sheer politics and absolutely reprehensible.
Doctors and insurers who refused to comply with this monstrous mandate were looking down the barrel of hefty fines and losing their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. It would put them out of business. The administration wrote in its final ruling that the requirement is consistent with the way other federal agencies are treating transgender people, referring to guidance from the Department of Education this year that schools should allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, not biological sex. The Supreme Court plans to hear challenges to that policy next year and will have something to say about that.
Explaining the lawsuit, Judge Reed O’Connor wrote, “Plaintiffs claim the Rule’s interpretation of sex discrimination pressures doctors to deliver healthcare in a manner that violates their religious freedom and thwarts their independent medical judgment and will require burdensome changes to their health insurance plans on January 1, 2017.” The states and nonprofits in the healthcare lawsuit allege that the regulation violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) — which sets the rules for federal government rule-making — and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). O’Connor found that the plaintiffs had standing to bring the lawsuit because they “have presented concrete evidence to support their fears that they will be subject to enforcement under the Rule.”
This mandate needs to be shredded and done away with forever. With President-elect Trump being sworn in on the 20th, let’s hope that more judges will come to their senses and do the right thing here. It is a massive violation of Constitutional rights. Not to mention it is morally abhorrent, just like Obama.
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