The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit is hearing oral arguments Wednesday in a case challenging a Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that would force physicians to violate their sound medical judgment and/or their religious beliefs.
The HHS is acting on an executive order signed by President Joe Biden in January of 2021 for his administration to redefine "sex" in federal law to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."
That means the Biden administration has reinterpreted non-discrimination on the basis of sex in the Affordable Care Act to include gender identity. This radical reinterpretation would require physicians to prescribe or perform transgender interventions on patients, including children.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys, representing 3,000 doctors and medical professionals from the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), Catholic Medical Associates, and an OB-GYN doctor who specializes in caring for adolescents, appealed to the 6th Circuit after a lower court dismissed their case.
In the lawsuit, American College of Pediatricians v. Becerra, the physicians are challenging the HHS mandate requiring doctors to perform controversial, life-altering procedures and surgeries for individuals seeking to alter their bodies to match their new gender identity, including children, even if doing so violates the physician's medical judgment, religious beliefs, or conscientious objections.
"Doctors should never be forced to perform a controversial and medically dangerous procedure that goes against their best judgment, their conscience, or their religion, especially when it involves vulnerable children," ADF Senior Counsel Chris Schandevel said in a statement.
"President Biden's Health and Human Services department is grossly overreaching its authority and, in so doing, putting children's psychological and physical health in danger. Our clients are rightfully objecting on medical, ethical, religious, and conscientious grounds to this unlawful government mandate," he added.
As a plaintiff in American College of Pediatricians v. Becerra, the college states that "ACPeds is committed to protecting children from the known harms of transgender interventions and to defending the right of physicians to use ethical medical judgment to help, not harm their patients. As pediatricians, we are dedicated to providing the highest level of care for our patients and abiding by our oath to do no harm to them."
In an op-ed published by The National Review on Tuesday, Lathan Watts, the ADF's vice president of public affairs noted, "Doctors across the nation are now in the untenable position of choosing between adherence to conscience and adherence to the ideology of federal bureaucrats."
"The choice is not only an impossible one for these doctors but also an unconstitutional one for any citizen of this republic. The religious liberty and free speech clauses of the First Amendment were written to protect the God-given right to live and speak according to one's convictions and to prevent government-coerced speech or conduct," Watts continued.
"In American College of Pediatricians v. Becerra, we're witnessing yet another clash between an unconstitutional attempt to rewrite federal law and the undeniable protections provided by our Constitution. As we await the Sixth Circuit's decision, it remains to be seen which will be left 'standing'," he concluded.