Washington D.C., May 10, 2021 / 15:00 pm
Catholic groups and legal experts denounced the Biden administration’s notice on Monday that it would prohibit denial of gender-transition procedures in health care.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday issued a notice that it would include, as unlawful sex discrimination, “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation” as well as “on the basis of gender identity.”
Legal experts warned that HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, a Catholic, would be enforcing federal law to require gender-transition procedures, under the policy of nondiscrimination.
“Becerra is threatening to put doctors and hospitals that disagree with current transgender ideology out of business, including those with medical, religious, or moral objections to conducting sex-reassignment surgeries on minors,” said Roger Severino, former head of the HHS Office for Civil Rights and current director of the HHS Accountability Project at the Ethics & Public Policy Center.
Mandating gender-transition procedures, while many doctors remain opposed to providing them, is not sound medical policy, he added.
“Becerra is trying to change the fundamental practice of medicine and science by the stroke of a pen, but will soon learn through lawsuits that sex as a biological reality won’t be so easily erased,” Severino said.
The HHS notice, announced on Monday, states that it is interpreting sex discrimination in health care to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
In the Affordable Care Act, Sec. 1557 prohibited sex discrimination in health care; the Obama administration interpreted that provision to prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Thus, the administration said that the denial of some procedures, such as abortions and gender-transition surgeries, constituted unlawful discrimination in health care.