In a tremendous victory for the religious liberty of healthcare professionals, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the Biden Administration’s transgender mandate.
In Sisters of Mercy v. Becerra, a group of Catholic hospitals, nuns, and a Catholic university that operates medical clinics for the poor, sued the Biden administration over a mandate that would have forced religious doctors and hospitals to perform mutilative gender surgeries on any patient, including children.
In May 2021, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would expand the definition of “sex” to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” in Title VII’s provision against employment discrimination. The new rule did not contain any religious liberty protections.
In August of this year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government could not force doctors to perform gender “transition” surgeries if it contradicted their beliefs. The Court upheld a permanent injunction against the HHS rule for another group of Catholic health care providers.
This week, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s decision and protected the First Amendment rights of medical professionals. It relied heavily on the Fifth Circuit court’s ruling, noting that the Eight Circuit Court found “instructive the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Franciscan Alliance.”
“We agree with these courts and therefore conclude that the district court correctly held that ‘intrusion upon the Catholic Plaintiffs’ exercise of religion is sufficient to show irreparable harm,’” wrote the Eighth Circuit in its decision.
While this decision does not apply to all states, it sets a crucial precedent for future religious liberty cases.
“Today’s victory sets an important precedent that religious healthcare professionals are free to practice medicine in accordance with their consciences and experienced professional judgment,” said Luke Goodrich of Becket Law. “The government’s attempt to force doctors to go against their consciences was bad for patients, bad for doctors, and bad for religious liberty.”
Extensive research shows the detrimental effects of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone administration, and bodily mutilation. These procedures have been linked to loss of fertility, cardiac disease, loss of bone density, and increased cancer risk.
Further, the puberty blockers that doctors give to children suffering from gender dysphoria are the same substances used to castrate sex offenders. This is not healthcare;it’s child abuse.
The good news is that the majority of Americans recognize how radical and abusive these procedures are. According to a recent Trafalgar Group/Convention of States Action poll, almost 80% of likely voters believe that children should not be able to receive puberty blockers and permanent sex change procedures.
Our job is to continue to expose clinics that are participating in this child abuse and share the ugly truth about gender “transition” procedures. Children suffering from gender dysphoria deserve real help, not harm. Moreover, doctors should never be forced to harm children and provide a service that violates their conscience.
We are hopeful that the Eighth Circuit’s ruling will set a lasting precedent for other courts and that religious liberty for healthcare professionals will be upheld all across the country, including here in Wisconsin.