WICHITA FALLS, Texas (CNS) — By annulling an Obama administration requirement that doctors perform gender transition procedures or treatments, as well as abortions, a federal judge in Texas has upheld the conscience rights of medical professionals across the nation, said a lawyer for plaintiffs in the case.
“It is critically important that doctors are able to continue serving patients in keeping with their consciences and their professional medical judgment, especially when it comes to the personal health choices of families and children,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, a Washington-based nonprofit religious liberty law firm.
In an Oct. 15 ruling, Judge Reed O’Connor of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Wichita Falls affirmed his previous decision that “the rule imposes a substantial burden on private plaintiffs’ religious exercise.”
In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation, applicable to virtually every doctor in the country, that would have required them to recognize abortion or sex-change operations as appropriate medical care or face prosecution for sex discrimination.
Becket filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in 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 in the suit.
On Dec. 31, 2016, O’Connor granted a nationwide, preliminary injunction against the HHS regulation. His ruling came a day before it was to take effect.
In his new ruling, he reviewed his earlier decision. “The court is careful not to weigh or evaluate the relevant doctrines of faith,” he wrote, but has “concluded that (the) plaintiffs refusal to perform, refer for, or cover transitions or abortions is a sincere religious exercise.”
In his statement, Goodrich said O’Connor’s ruling “marks a major victory for compassion, conscience and sound medical judgment.”
“Doctors cannot do their jobs if government bureaucrats are trying to force them to perform potentially harmful procedures that violate their medical and moral judgment,” he added.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103