The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas issued a ruling today in Franciscan Alliance v. Azar that will allow doctors to refuse to perform gender-transition surgeries.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a rule near the end of the Obama administration that would require virtually all doctors to perform gender-transition surgery if the patient was referred to them by a mental health professional.
If the doctor refused to comply — even on religious grounds that performing such a surgery would violate their conscience — they could be fired or face other severe consequences.
According to a press release from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, “An association of over 19,000 healthcare professionals, nine states, and several religious organizations filed two lawsuits against the mandate, arguing that it was inconsistent with federal law and force doctors to violate the Hippocratic Oath, which requires doctors to act in the best interest of their patients.”
In late 2016, two federal courts ruled against the new HHS regulation. In May of 2019, HHS officials under the Trump administration proposed a new rule that would allow doctors to make decisions without interference from the federal government.
However, since the new rule was only being considered and has not yet been implemented, the 2016 mandate still remained on the books.
The ruling by the district court today struck down the 2016 mandate.
“Today marks a major victory for compassion, conscience, and sound medical judgment,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president at Becket. “Our clients look forward to joyfully continuing to serve all patients, regardless of their sex or gender identity, and continuing to provide top-notch care to transgender patients for everything from cancer to the common cold.”
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.