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Letting Christians do no harm

Court blocks controversial transgender mandate


iStock.com/Ivan-balvan

Letting Christians do no harm

A Texas federal court on Monday blocked a Biden administration policy that would have forced doctors and hospitals to perform gender transition procedures and abortions against their religious convictions.

The transgender mandate has had a troubled road since the Obama administration first instituted it. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor previously blocked it in 2019, and a North Dakota federal court struck it down in January of this year. Trump administration HHS officials revised the rule in 2019 to protect conscience rights, but a court blocked the change. The Biden administration is committed to transgender rights and signaled earlier this year it would enforce the Obama-era version of the rule.

O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, concluded in Monday’s ruling the HHS rule violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 1993 federal law that requires the government to show a compelling interest and use the least restrictive means if it substantially burdens religious freedom. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced the legislation when he was a representative from New York. O’Connor wrote that the mandate threatened to burden Christian religious exercise “in the form of fines and civil liability, to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender-transition procedures and abortions.”

The order means the government can’t impose fines or penalties on medical professionals or withdraw federal funding from hospitals for refusing to conduct the controversial procedures. But it only covers the particular parties to the case: Franciscan Alliance, a Catholic hospital network in Indiana and Illinois, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations and their 19,000 members.

The ruling will likely not end the matter, as the Biden administration appears committed to expanding transgender and abortion even over religious objections. Just last week the administration’s Justice Department abandoned its defense of a Vermont nurse who objected to participating in an elective abortion.


Steve West

Steve is a legal correspondent for WORLD. He is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, Wake Forest University School of Law, and N.C. State University. He worked for 34 years as a federal prosecutor and is now an attorney in private practice. Steve resides with his wife in Raleigh, N.C.

@slntplanet

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SJS

Strange that for some reason I'm not able to reply to Tom below (or maybe above once posted?). But nevertheless Tom was able to clarify that the inviolable Constitution is more important to our nation than faith and morality. That explains much. However, it seems to be the opposite in Scripture when God pronounces his displeasure and ultimately judgment on nations that put anything above him and his moral requirements.

Tom HanrahanSJS

SJS, I will assume some of the blame of your serious misconstruing what I wrote is mine, for lack of clarity. Hence, take two:
Of course God's laws are over man's. Some Biden administration's policies are in direct violation of Scriptural principles (Genesis 1-3, Romans 1, elsewhere). However, President Trump has consistently violated many commandments; lying, coveting what was not his and attempting to steal it by subversion, seeking to subvert "justice in the gates", inciting violence, and disregarding a vow (to uphold the Constitution) made before men and God.
We may disagree over which is more egregious. But you asked a question (buyers remorse), and so I answer: while I went into the booth with some trepidation in November, our 45th President's behavior since then only solidified my choice. And I am not alone.
Peace.

SJS

Is there any "buyers' remorse" from those who voted this administration into power?

Tom HanrahanSJS

Do I regret this administration's positions and emphases on matters of culture and faith. Yes, very much. But do I regret voting out a man who tried to overturn the Constitution, the will of the people, the rule of law, and democracy itself by circumventing the law in a brazen attempt to stay in power? Um, no.