A federal district court last Friday, Nov. 11, struck down the Biden administration’s attempt to reinterpret the word sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity in federal statutes.
Under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the administration has sought to force health care professionals to perform hormone therapy or sex-change operations that violate their medical judgment or religious beliefs. Additionally, the administration has sought to interpret the statute known as Title IX to require women to compete against biological males on women’s sports teams.
Two Texas-based physicians challenged the administration in court, arguing that sex-change procedures are not always medically appropriate for everyone who wants them.
The physicians also argued that there are times when “a patient must acknowledge his biological sex rather than the gender identity that he asserts.” For example, one of the physicians once diagnosed a biological male with prostate cancer, but the patient refused to accept that diagnosis because he identified as a female and therefore could not have a prostate. Without the doctor’s insistence, the patient’s gender identity might have caused him to forego urgent cancer treatment.
The administration had asked the court to apply the same reasoning used by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020’s Bostock case. In that case, the court ruled 6-3 that the term sex in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.
But the court in this case found that the Bostock decision, which applies specifically to discrimination in employment, does not apply to medical procedures under Section 1557 or to athletics under Title IX.
Speaking of the Biden administration’s approach to athletics, the court stated: “Defendants’ reinterpretation of Title IX … imperils the very opportunities for women Title IX was designed to promote and protect—categorially forcing biological women to compete against biological men.”
Regarding the health care issue, the court noted that when Congress adopted Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, it limited that section’s protections to those afforded by other federal statutes, including Title IX. “Because Title IX does not protect ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ status, neither does section 1557,” the judge said.
Alliance Defending Freedom, which had filed an amicus brief in the case, commented: “We’re pleased the court ruled to not only protect female athletes, but also doctors who should never be forced to perform controversial and medically dangerous procedures that violate their conscience and religious beliefs. In its opinion, the court rightly stopped the Biden administration’s gross overreach of its authority and political agenda.”
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