Court Hears Challenge by Doctors, Hospitals, and States to HHS Transgender Mandate

Court hearing for government regulation interfering with doctor-patient relationship 

For Immediate Release:  December 20, 2016 
Media Contact:  Melinda Skea | media@becketfund.org | 202-349-7224 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Moments ago, a Texas court heard the case of eight states, an association of almost 18,000 doctors, and a hospital system challenging a federal regulation that requires doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children, even if the doctor’s best medical judgment is that treatment could harm the child. A court ruling on this regulation can be expected before January 1, when significant aspects of this law will take effect.  

“We made the argument that it’s incredibly improper for the government to invade the important doctor-patient relationship, and it shouldn’t be mandating doctors to perform procedures against their best medical judgement,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at Becket Law, which filed a lawsuit against the new federal regulation on behalf of the doctors and hospital system. “Personal medical decisions about the welfare of a child should be free from political agendas and interference by bureaucrats.”  

The new regulation applies to over 900,000 doctors—nearly every doctor in the U.S.—and will cost healthcare providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion. The government itself does not require its own military doctors to perform these procedures. It also does not require coverage of gender transition procedures in Medicare or Medicaid—even in adults—because HHS’s experts “admit clinical literature is ‘inconclusive’ on whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria,” with some studies demonstrating that these procedures were actually harmful. Yet any doctor relying on the same research or their own medical judgment would be in violation of the new regulation and face potential lawsuits or job loss. 

A recent website provides leading research on this issue, including guidance the government itself relies on, demonstrating that up to 94 percent of children with gender dysphoria (77 to 94 percent in one set of studies and 73 to 88 percent in another) will grow out of their dysphoria naturally and live healthy lives without the need for surgery or lifelong hormone regimens.  

“We’re optimistic that the court will remind the government it simply has no authority to pass this type of law and that it has no business telling licensed medical professionals what procedures are in the best interests of their patients, let alone a child,” said Rienzi

Becket is defending Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations from the new government regulation. The states of Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana,Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas, and Wisconsin joined Becket’s legal challenge. More information can be found at www.transgendermandate.org.  

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, please contact Melinda Skea atmedia@becketfund.orgor 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. 

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Becket Law is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court.  For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians(read more here).