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HHS to Force Doctors To Provide Transgender Surgeries

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The Biden Administration is now forcing private insurance companies to cover abortion services and transgender procedures. While they’ve spent the past few years obfuscating and claiming that’s not the case, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Xavier Becerra, just admitted it in a House committee hearing.

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex in “covered health programs and activities” that receive federal assistance. In 2016, the Obama Administration proposed a rule that claimed that “sex” also included pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Under President Trump, the definition of “sex” was reverted to its commonsense definition.

But after the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that sex included gender identity and sexual orientation within a specific Title VII context, the Biden Administration has manipulated the decision to use it beyond the Court’s specific guidance to not only reinstate the Obama-era ACA rule, but make it even more radical. Concerned Women for America (CWA) and other like-minded groups have fought against the rule since its proposal, but the Administration proceeded regardless of the pushback. The new rule, finalized on May 6 of this year, expands the definition of sex discrimination to include “sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, including intersex traits; and pregnancy (this includes history of abortion) or related conditions.”

The result is that most insurance plans will be required to cover harmful transgender “healthcare,” including puberty blocker prescriptions, cross-sex hormones, and dangerous gender-transition surgeries, as well as abortions and related procedures. These insurance plans will likely become more expensive in order to expand their coverage, meaning Americans will be paying more in order to cover services with which the vast majority do not agree. And with good reason – a new study by the University of Texas Medical Branch found sex-change surgeries actually increase the risk of suicide by more than 12 times.

This egregious violation of conscience rights was highlighted when Sec. Becerra appeared at a recent Education and Workforce Hearing. Like the Senate hearing a few weeks ago, the topic was the Administration’s 2025 HHS budget. But while that hearing exposed the Secretary’s radical abortion agenda, this one focused on the ACA rule’s overhaul of the meaning of “sex discrimination.”

Congressman Bob Good (R-Virginia 5th) questioned Becerra about the rule’s confusing inclusion of pregnancy in its definition of sex. When he asked the Secretary why pregnancy termination is a class that needs to be protected, Becerra claimed that abortion is healthcare, that “if [women] they need reproductive care and are denied it, then they’re having their rights abridged.”

Good’s follow-up got to the core of the issue. He asked Becerra, “If a woman’s health insurance plan isn’t giving her the unfettered right to end life, then she can claim that she’s being discriminated against. Is that correct?”

Good is correct, despite Becerra non-committal response that no one woman should be denied the healthcare she needs. As further evidence that HHS anticipates an uptick in civil rights violations claims, Good pointed out that the proposed budget includes a $17 million increase for the Office of Civil Rights “to weaponize the department against doctors who don’t want to provide abortions to women.”

This rule applies not only to all ACA plans but also to most private, employer sponsored healthcare. Not only are any medical providers under these plans now required to supply abortion services, but also, as Congressman Mary Miller (R-Illinois 15th) exposed, “gender affirming procedures,” even if medical professionals believe these procedures are wrong or harmful.

Miller asked the Secretary what HHS would do “if a doctor refused to provide the treatments mandated by this rule.” Becerra responded that “If a provider, for religious reasons, objects, they’re not forced to provide any particular service.”

However, the rule explicitly says that a doctor cannot refuse service to a patient for care protected under the new definition of “sex discrimination.” So Miller was not willing to let him get away with that. She told Becerra, “I don’t believe you. Your department has a history of violating the closely held religious beliefs of people ….”

In an attempt to get a clear answer from the Secretary, she asked, “Would you tell me today, will you commit here today that your department will not withhold federal funding from hospitals or doctors who refuse to provide the ‘gender-affirming’ care that you are mandating if it violates their religious beliefs?”

Becerra would not commit to that, in as clear a “no” as Miller could have gotten from a government official. He told her that “if a healthcare facility is violating the law and not providing the services they’re required to, then they’re not entitled to the resources.” Under the new rule, the Administration will withhold funding and resources from any medical provider who refuses to conduct procedures that violate their beliefs or medical judgment. It is fairly evident that the Administration intends to pressure hospitals to engage in the discrimination against conscience in which the government cannot engage, as they have done in the case of Big Tech and our First Amendment rights.

Becerra’s answers yet again revealed the priorities of the current administration. While HHS should be focused on the health and well-being of Americans, they are instead funding procedures that are irreversible and permanently damaging and forcing doctors to violate their oath to “do no harm.”

Thankfully, there are Congressmen willing to expose this. Concerned Women for American Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) has endorsed a bill introduced by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas 21st) that would undo the new rule. You can use our action center to tell your congressmen to support it here.

But real change will not come until there is a new Administration that cares more about what is truly good for Americans than pushing a radical agenda. Let us pray and work to that end.