“In today’s announcement, HHS says it will comply with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and ‘applicable’ court rulings--but it is these very rulings HHS is fighting to overturn in court,” Goodrich said. Congress is also considering the Equality Act, a law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and which specifically overrides RFRA. The White House has supported the legislation and called for its passage.
Severino on Monday called the Biden administration’s announcement “lawless.”
“This lawless action circumvents the public rulemaking process followed by both the Trump and Obama administrations on this issue and contradicts an existing court injunction,” he said. Two federal courts have ruled against the HHS transgender mandate.
As head of the HHS civil rights office, Severino twice found Becerra – then-attorney general of California – in violation of federal conscience laws, due to his defense of state abortion mandates.
Other Catholic leaders condemned the HHS announcement.
“Coercing doctors to carry out highly controversial and unproven ‘treatments’ like administering puberty blocking hormones to children and performing irreversible sex changes – against their best medical judgment and conscience – is the latest effort by the Biden administration to force anyone who dissents from its radical ideology into compliance,” stated Grazie Pozo Christie, M.D., policy advisor for The Catholic Association.
Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, said the announcement was all about mandating gender-transitioning, and not about actual “health care.”
“Contrary to the misleading HHS announcement, no American is being denied care for broken arms, or standard medical procedures based on their gender ‘identity’ or sexual orientation. This move by HHS is a setup to normalize and strong arm doctors into administering puberty blocking drugs on children, performing sex-change surgeries, and more,” he stated. “Catholic hospitals and doctors are likely to come under increased pressure and scrutiny as a result.”
In 2020, the Trump administration said it would only interpret sex discrimination under biological sex, and not gender identity or sexual orientation.