A federal court in Texas blocked a transgender mandate from President Joe Biden that would require doctors to go against their religious beliefs and perform gender transition surgeries.
Judge Reed O’Connor granted a permanent injunction and said that the doctors are "to be exempt from the government’s requirement to perform abortions and gender-transition procedures."
In a win for religious liberty, Monday's ruling prohibits Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra from requiring the Christian plaintiffs to "perform or provide insurance coverage for gender-transition procedures or abortions, including by denying Federal financial assistance because of their failure to perform or provide insurance coverage for such procedures or by otherwise pursuing, charging, or assessing any penalties, fines, assessments, investigations, or other enforcement actions."
"Today’s ruling is a victory for compassion, conscience, and common sense," said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. "No doctor should be forced to perform controversial, medically unsupported procedures that are contrary to their conscience and could be deeply harmful to their patients."
In 2016, under the guise of the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination clause, the Obama administration issued a mandate that required doctors and hospitals to provide gender transition operations after receiving a referral from a mental health professional.
Doctors who refused to provide such surgeries would face financial penalties, private lawsuits and other consequences.
More than 19,000 healthcare professionals, several religious organizations and nine states contested the transgender mandate in court.
A North Dakota court shut down the mandate earlier this year, although Biden appealed the decision, and Judge O’Connor blocked it in Texas in 2019, emphasizing that the government "cannot force religious doctors and hospitals to perform gender transition procedures in violation of their conscience and professional medical judgment."