Lawsuit Challenges Federal Regulation Forcing Doctors to Provide Gender Transition Treatment for Children

By Penny Starr | November 14, 2016 | 2:52 PM EST

Coy Mathis, left, plays with her sister Auri, 2, at their home in Fountain, Colo. Biologically, Coy, 6, is a boy, but to his parents, family members and the world, Coy is a transgender girl. (BRENNAN LINSLEY/AP)

(CNSNews.com) – The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state of North Dakota and health providers challenging a federal regulation that would force doctors and others to perform gender transition procedures on children even if it’s believed these procedures could harm a child.

“The governmentdoes not require Medicare and Medicaid to cover these same procedures, because Health & Human Services’ (HHS) [the agency putting forth the regulation] own medical experts found the risks were often too high and benefits too unclear,” the press release announcing the lawsuit said. “Yet any private doctor who made the same decision about the risks would be in violation of the new mandate and face potential lawsuits or job loss.”

“No doctor should be forced to perform a procedure that he or she believes will harm a child,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel of the fund. “Decisions on a child’s medical treatment should be between families and their doctors, not dictated by politicians and government bureaucrats.”  

The fund said the regulation will cost health care providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion and affect up to 900,000 doctors and violates doctors’ ability to exercise both their best medical judgment and their religiously-inspired desire to care for society’s most vulnerable.  

“HHS’ regulation is an unparalleled government overreach,” Windham said. “This law not only forces doctors to violate the Hippocratic oath, but also removes their professional right to be the final decision-makers on the best medical care for their patients.”

A newwebsite,produced by the Fund, provided research on this issue, including studies that reveal up to 94 percent of children with gender dysphoria (77 to 94 percent in one set of studies and 73 to 88 percent in another) will grow out of their dysphoria naturally and will not need surgery or lifelong hormone regimens.

The website also reveals the negative effects suffered by children who undergo hormone regimens, including an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. 

The Becket Fund lawsuit, filed in the North Dakota federal district court, is on behalf of the state of North Dakota, the Sisters of Mercy, the University of Mary, and SMP Health System, a non-profit hospital system founded by nuns in North Dakota.

Last month, Becket, joined by eight other state governments, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, defending them from the new government regulation.