August 23, 2016
Government orders doctors to perform procedures it admits may harm children
Washington, D.C. – Doctors, hospitals and five states will file a lawsuit today against a new federal regulation that would force doctors to ignore science and their medical judgment and perform gender transition procedures on children. The government does not even require Medicare and Medicaid to cover these same gender transition procedures because the Health & Human Services’ (HHS) medical experts found the risks were often too high and benefits too unclear. But any doctor citing the same evidence and their judgment in an individual case would be in violation of the new mandate and face potential lawsuits or job loss.
“No doctor should be forced to perform a procedure that he or she believes will harm a child,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Decisions on a child’s medical treatment should be between families and their doctors, not dictated by politicians and government bureaucrats.”
A new 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 will not need surgery or lifelong hormone regimens. Studies also show that there are numerous negative effects when children undergo hormone regimens, such as increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.
The government itself does not require coverage of gender transition procedures in Medicare or Medicaid — even in adults — because it has acknowledged that such procedures can be harmful. This rule would be the first time a law forces doctors to break their Hippocratic Oath and is also unique in placing mental health professionals as the final decision-makers on what medical care doctors must provide for their patients.
The new regulation applies to 900,000 doctors — virtually every doctor in the U.S., many of whom have chosen the medical profession because they are inspired by their faith to serve those in need and to heal others. They have taken an oath to put the needs of each patient first and do no harm. But this regulation violates doctors’ ability to exercise both their best medical judgment and their religiously-inspired desire to care for society’s most vulnerable. It will also cost healthcare providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion.
“This regulation is blatantly hypocritical: The government exempts coverage of gender transition procedures from Medicare or Medicaid because it admits that they may be harmful; but it then tries to force private doctors to perform the same procedures on young children,” said Windham.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will file a lawsuit today in federal district court in Wichita Falls, Texas, on behalf of Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, defending them from the new government regulation. The States of Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wisconsin also joined the Becket Fund’s legal challenge. More information can be found at www.transgendermandate.org.
For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket Fund attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at email@example.com or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.