CONTACT: Kathy Dempsey for Christ Medicus Foundation CURO, 202-359-4379

New Federal Health Regulation Endangers Human Dignity and Medical Conscience Rights by Coercing Abortions and Mandating Transgender Procedures

Statement by Louis Brown, Jr., Esq, Executive Director, Christ Medicus Foundation and former Acting Deputy Director for Civil Rights at the HHS Office for Civil Rights

The new HHS regulation under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act unlawfully mandates transgender procedures, coerces health entities to participate in abortions, and threatens patient dignity while undermining federal civil rights law. Section 1557 is a nondiscrimination provision intended to protect the civil rights of vulnerable patients from unjust discrimination and ensure health care access for all. Tragically, the Biden Administration is using a needed civil rights law to create an unlawful rule that coerces unethical procedures, harms vulnerable patients, and conflicts with enforcement of federal conscience and religious freedom rights.

This new U.S. Health and Human Services Department rule coerces health care professionals and entities to participate in abortion because the rule interprets sex discrimination in health care to include a refusal to facilitate a ‘termination of pregnancy’, in other words abortion. While the rule does not create an express abortion mandate, the regulation falsely normalizes abortion as medical care and implicitly pressures health care entities to enable abortions.

The new HHS rule also interprets sex discrimination to include discrimination based on ‘gender identity’ and thereby expressly attempts to force health care entities to provide gender transitioning procedures. Medical science is clear that gender transitioning and related procedures seriously hurt the health of patients, leading to the rollback in these practices in parts of Europe and some locations in the U.S. Persons suffering from gender dysphoria or gender confusion deserve love, great support, and ethical medical care based on the truth of their humanity. They should never be subject to unjust discrimination. As the recent Declaration from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Dignitatis Infinita, stated: “Teaching about the need to respect the natural order of the human person, Pope Francis affirmed that ‘creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.’ It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.” 

All patients urgently need strong civil rights protections to safeguard their life, health, and dignity from unjust discrimination. Every person has a right to ethical medical care and this right is founded upon their inherent right to life.  Thus, it is alarming that the Biden Administration is hijacking an important civil rights provision to coerce medical professionals and health care entities to participate in procedures that seriously violate the life, health and human dignity of patients. In the new 1557 regulation, HHS has exceeded its legal authority and has eroded the foundations of American civil rights law by using a nondiscrimination provision to coerce the health care industry’s participation in unethical and dehumanizing procedures. The new rule is a serious attack on patient dignity and represents an extraordinary violation of the medical conscience and religious freedom rights of thousands of medical professionals and hundreds of health care entities across America.

CMF will continue to defend and advance the rights of patients and health care professionals to receive and provide ethical care that respects and protects the God-given life, dignity and flourishing of the human person.

The Christ Medicus Foundation shares Jesus Christ’s healing love in health and wellness. We advance religious freedom for medical professionals and patients. We promote Christ-centered pro-life medical care. We offer our CURO Catholic health and wellness program for the medical needs and whole-person wellness of individuals and families.  Founded in 1997, the Christ Medicus Foundation works to accomplish its mission through promoting public policy and education, supporting the expansion of Christ-centered pro-life medical care, and providing Catholic health and wellness programs to individuals, families, and employers.