Denver, Colo., Dec 9, 2022 / 17:15 pm
The Biden administration may not force Catholic organizations and medical professionals to perform gender-transition surgeries or provide insurance coverage for them, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has said in a Dec. 9 ruling that cited religious freedom grounds.
“The federal government has no business forcing doctors to violate their consciences or perform controversial procedures that could permanently harm their patients,” Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket legal group, said Friday. “This is a common-sense ruling that protects patients, aligns with best medical practice, and ensures doctors can follow their Hippocratic Oath to ‘do no harm.’”
Becket serves as legal counsel for a coalition of Catholic organizations representing hospitals, doctors, and clinics that had filed the legal challenge to the mandate issued by President Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Catholic groups alleged that the mandate required them to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender-transition surgeries and abortions, against their conscientious objections.
Plaintiffs included four Catholic groups under the Religious Sisters of Mercy, along with the Catholic Benefits Association, the Catholic Medical Association, the Diocese of Fargo, and Catholic Charities of North Dakota. They were joined by the state of North Dakota.