HHS proposal replaces medical ethics with transgender ideology, critics say

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Proposed federal regulatory changes to the Affordable Care Act will mean that “woke” political correctness will trump medical and ethical considerations, likely worsening a shortage of nurses and doctors in the United States.

It’s an assessment of proposed revisions released July 25 by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights that could force healthcare workers to perform gender transition procedures; requiring health insurance schemes to cover these costs; and will likely remove federal conscience protection for those in the health care field who oppose abortion.


On August 4, the proposal was published by the Federal Register, opening a 60-day period for public comments which can be submitted at https://bit.ly/3vEM4Bl. The site describes alternative options for submitting comments. The last day for submissions is October 3.

“If this rule is final and enforced, it really changes the standards of care in medicine and an ideology trumps science – it even ends the conversation about conscience rights,” said surgeon Dr Tim Millea. orthopedic surgeon based in Iowa and chair of the health care policy committee of the Catholic Medical Association, based in Pennsylvania.

“It requires debate, debate is healthy and can be uncomfortable, but it’s better than a mandate,” Millea told Catholic News Service Aug. 1. ,’ you are not able to refuse; you are obligated to refer them to someone who will.

The CMA is a national physician-led community of 2,400 healthcare professionals made up of 115 local guilds. The association has been expecting HHS rules to change since last April, following the discovery of a 74-page legal memorandum attached to a court filing from a consortium of 30 sexual rights groups.

The document revealed that HHS wanted 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 face modification. voice – as well as a host of expanded fertility services. treatments, contraception, abortifacients and sterilizations.

“The proposed rule is littered with fancy jargon such as ‘pregnant person’, ‘respondents who have retained a uterus’, ‘individual who does not have a cervix’ and ‘individual who does not have a prostate’, which is humiliating for both men and women,” according to a study by the Heritage Foundation.

“A gender-unscientific standard of care, and requiring insurance plans to pay for it, the rule will lead to sterilization, loss of sexual function, removal of healthy reproductive organs, and a plethora of surgeries and unnecessary chemical interventions with lifelong consequences,” the foundation said in a statement.

The U.S. Bishops, in a July 27 statement, said “assurances that HHS will abide by religious freedom laws offer little comfort when HHS is actively fighting court decisions that have found HHS to have violated religious freedom laws. religious freedom the last time they tried to impose such a mandate”.

The “proposed regulations threaten our ability to carry out our healing ministries, and the ability of others to practice medicine. They are asking healthcare workers to perform life-changing surgeries to remove perfectly healthy body parts,” the Bishops said.

For its part, the CMA has since been working to analyze proposed changes to HHS rules in consultation with its member Catholic health care providers, including Tennessee-based Christian medical and dental associations and, more recently, the Coalition for Jewish Values ​​based in Baltimore.

The changes will likely apply to all healthcare providers, clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, group health insurers and third-party administrators of self-funded plans.

Millea said the situation is an “everyone on deck” moment for the CMA and its partners, but that in the broader health care community there continues to be an “accommodation to acceptance, to the ‘apathy and lack of competition’ alongside the reality that individual healthcare professionals are too busy to read all the 300+ page documents that come in.

Unless successfully challenged, HHS could soon force all American medical professionals to perform abortions, gender reassignment surgeries, or assisted suicide against their moral, religious, and clinical judgment, which amounts to a violation of their rights and the best interests of their patients, according to the CMA. .

Additionally, greater government intrusion into the art and practice of health care will result in a further reduction in the number of future health professionals who have moral or ethical objections to abortion and transitional procedures. gender, for example.

“If I’m a high school or college kid and I want to go into medicine and I realize I can’t do what’s right for our patients in all situations, we’re going to take the best and the brightest and discourage them. of this career,” Millea said.

“It will become a job with blinkers that get bigger all the time; it will become a closed system with no open debate any longer,” he added.

The CMA calls on each state legislature to enact strong medical conscience rights and religious freedom protections for healthcare professionals in their state.

The Catholic Benefits Association, based in Colorado, is monitoring the situation closely. and other departments.

Attorney Martin Nussbaum of Nussbaum Speir Gleason in Colorado Springs, Colo., a law firm that advises the Catholic Benefits Association, said he has begun reviewing the document.

He believes health care providers who are members of the association will be substantially protected from the new HHS rule by the injunction of a gender transition services mandate already obtained in 2021 and which applies to current members. and future of the association.

However, unless something changes, most employers in general will be forced to follow the new gender ideology proposed by HHS, which will likely be enforced by the Department of Labor. This would have a significant cost and compliance impact for all U.S. employers and prohibit religious exemptions.

The proposed HHS regulations would apply to the implementation of a provision of the ACA, Section 1557, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex – including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity – in Covered Health Programs or Activities.

The HHS proposal will likely apply to all health care providers, clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, group health insurers and third-party administrators of self-funded plans.

“People should consider commenting, and HHS is obligated to review this and respond before releasing the final rule,” Nussbaum told CNS Aug. 2, referring to the opportunity to comment now that the proposal has been published.

He said HHS will then take some time to consider public comments and then release its final rules, which will likely differ in some areas, he added.

“The rule is very complex, but we will be reading it with a fine-tooth comb, sponsoring webinars for our members and others and educating Catholic employers and healthcare providers about it and assessing whether to comment. “said Nussbaum. “But we will protect our members from these immoral rules.”

Nussbaum points out that even the HHS document points out that a decidedly tiny percentage of the public would consider themselves candidates for so-called gender reassignment and even fewer will ultimately pursue drugs or procedures to go through “gender migration.” irreversible, a procedure that can result in complete loss of sexual function and render a person infertile.

“It’s all so unnecessary. Why would the administration cause all this uproar for the country when, by its own statements, it only affects less than 0.0022 to 0.0173 percent of people — most of whom won’t even choose these surgeries, to after a California study,” Nussbaum said.

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