Nonprofit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is sounding the alarm on a newly revised Biden rule that the group says would compel health care professionals to perform transgender surgeries and abortions against their medical judgment and religious conscience, under the threat of severe financial penalties.
The nonprofit is facing off against the Biden administration on Thursday at the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Becket, representing a Catholic health care network and a group of almost 19,000 health care professionals, is asking the court to uphold the decision in Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra, fending off the new Biden rule.
Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel for Becket, warned this week that the rule, dubbed the transgender mandate, could be used to compel hospitals and doctors receiving federal funds to conduct controversial transgender procedures and abortions, according to the National Catholic Register.
“A hospital that would perform a hysterectomy for a woman with uterine cancer would also have to perform a hysterectomy for a woman who wants to transition to living as a man,” Goodrich said. “If not, [it would be] guilty of sex discrimination and subject to multi-million-dollar penalties.”
The legal expert said doctors who provide care to women who miscarry, which sometimes includes a dilation and curettage (D&C), could be compelled to perform the procedure on a living baby, which is an abortion. Doctors who refuse, Goodrich said, could risk charges of discrimination and face massive fines.
Religious exemption is effectively at the discretion of the Biden administration, Goodrich warned, emphasizing that the revised rule does not provide a blanket exemption.
Such a mandate has already been blocked multiple times before, the expert noted. Goodrich argued that the administration is still going forward with the revised rule, even if the court again rejects it, so “that others might just be cowed into submission [out of] fear of massive penalties.”
“It seems like HHS is willing to treat these court losses in the injunctions as the price to pay for trying to change the norms in the medical profession,” the expert said, adding, “What they’re really trying to do is change the norms in the medical profession to include gender transition and abortion.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has already come out against the revised rule, too, echoing Becket’s warning.
“Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed revisions to its regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which would force health care workers to perform gender transition procedures, require health insurance issuers to cover them, and entertain a mandate to perform elective abortions,” said a press release from USCCB.