A second federal appeals court has blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to force faith-based health care organizations to participate in gender transition treatments.
On Friday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling that blocks enforcement of the Obamacare antidiscrimination rule, which offers no exceptions for faith-based hospitals and health care workers with sincere religious convictions.
The plaintiffs, a group of Catholic healthcare ministries in North Dakota, among them the Religious Sisters of Mercy, Sacred Heart Mercy Healthcare Center and SMP Health System, had prevailed in U.S. District Court in North Dakota before going before the three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit.
The Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services had argued that “a blanket religious exemption could result in a denial or delay in the provision of health care to individuals and in discouraging individuals from seeking necessary care, with serious and, in some cases, life threatening results.”
The 8th Circuit, upholding the federal district court’s ruling, believed differently, saying the mandate is an “intrusion upon the Catholic Plaintiffs’ exercise of religion” and “is sufficient to show irreparable harm.” The appeals court upheld a ruling for permanent injunctive relief for the Catholic health care ministries.
The Catholic entities in the lawsuit, represented by the Becket Fund, all provide care for transgender patients, but do not provide gender transition procedures, based on their religious beliefs.
“Some good news!” Franklin Graham said in a Facebook post. “On Friday, a federal court blocked the Biden administration’s mandate that would force religious hospitals and doctors to facilitate gender transition treatments and procedures against their moral convictions … they refuse to provide gender-transition surgeries because they believe them to be harmful. I’m glad they stood their ground and went to court. Thank you to God—and thank you to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for doing the right thing!”
In August, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a second case, originating in Texas, that challenged the Biden mandate. The 5th Circuit likewise ruled against HHS and for the plaintiffs, a group of Christian health care organizations.
“We now have two different federal courts of appeal saying the Biden administration is permanently blocked from forcing religious doctors and hospitals” to participate in gender transition procedures, Luke Goodrich, a Becket Fund attorney, told reporters.
Goodrich said he doubts HHS will appeal for a rehearing before the 8th Circuit or petition the Supreme Court to hear the case, National Review reported.
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