Christian and conservative organizations raised alarms this week about a potential new pro-abortion mandate from the Biden administration that could shut down Christian health care throughout the U.S.
Catholic News Service reports conservative leaders discovered the plans for the radical new regulation buried in a legal memorandum from the pro-abortion Leadership Conference and a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announcement.
Crafted to be an anti-sex discrimination provision under the Affordable Care Act, the anticipated regulation likely would force Catholic and Christian hospitals, doctors, other medical workers and insurance companies to provide abortions, transgender surgeries and other procedures with no religious exemptions, according to the report.
“The general public has almost no awareness of what may be coming,” Doug Wilson, CEO of the Catholic Benefits Association, told CNS. “It is written to end Catholic health care. The requirements are so far beyond Catholic teaching that Catholic employers of every sort would be faced with complying or shutting down.”
Wilson’s organization is part of a coalition of Catholic, evangelical Christian and conservative organizations working to oppose the anticipated regulation and planning potential lawsuits if the Biden administration implements it.
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He said they discovered the plan in November in a 74-page court filing and quickly began spreading the word.
The document “revealed that HHS has promised to revise its mandates on health plan coverage and performance to include surgical abortion, cross-sex hormones, gender-transition surgeries, gender-affirming cosmetic surgeries and voice modification — along with a host of expanded services dealing with fertility treatments, contraception, abortifacients and sterilizations,” according to CNS.
Coalition leaders said the plan does not include any religious exemptions, and the billion-dollar abortion chain Planned Parenthood is one of the groups urging HHS to implement it, the report continues.
Wilson and others anticipate HHS may introduce the regulation later this month. Before a regulation can be adopted, it must go through a public comment process and review; it would not go into effect immediately.
Here’s more from the report:
The proposed HHS regulations would apply to implementation of an Affordable Care Act provision that includes a prohibit on discrimination based on sex. It will likely apply to all health care providers, clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, group health insurers and third-party administrators of self-funded plans.
“And if the new regulation applies to all of those groups, it will effectively apply to all employers with a health plan,” [attorney Martin Nussbaum whose firm which advises the Catholic Benefits Association] told Catholic News Service. “The proposed regulation would also apply to all contractors of the previous groups, including my law firm. For Catholic hospital chains it is hard to imagine how broad that group is.”
Nussbaum said medical groups and individuals who refuse to comply could lose Medicare and Medicaid funding or even be sent to jail.
“Such sanctions can shut down any hospital network,” he told CNS.
Dr. Steven White, president of the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance, one of the coalition groups, said they met with HHS leaders this week to discuss their concerns with being required to perform harmful abortions and transgenders surgeries against their “ethical and medical judgments.”
“As faith-based individuals and health care institutions, we have a right to practice medicine according to Catholic ethics and our conscience, and not be forced to participate in harmful and dangerous procedures on our patients,” White said. “We went into medicine to heal, not to harm our patients.”
The Ethics & Public Policy Center, which also is part of the coalition, outlined what the regulation likely would do, based on a Biden administration announcement earlier this year.
- Redraft the definition of discrimination “on the basis of sex” under Section 1557 to include: “pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom, childbirth or related medical conditions, reproductive health decisions, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, gender transition, transgender status, sex stereotypes, and sex characteristics (including intersex traits).”
- Force health care professionals to provide services that violate their conscience or sincerely held religious beliefs by explicitly prohibiting religious, moral, and abortion exemptions.
- Force medical professionals to perform or assist in experimental transgender surgeries and cross-sex hormone treatments on adults and children even where contrary to their medical judgment.
- Require insurance plans, certain employers, and beneficiaries to pay for experimental transgender surgeries and cross-sex hormone treatments on adults and children.
“Activist groups have practically set up shop in the HHS Office for Civil Rights to push experimental transgender ideology into every aspect of health care, including pediatrics. The least OCR can do is listen to doctors, experts, and victims who can demonstrate the harms that come from replacing medical science with this dangerous political ideology,” EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino said.