Fresh off its temporary victory against the Obama administration’s bathroom guidelines for public schools and transgender students, Texas announced Tuesday it is challenging the federal government on another transgender issue — sex-reassignment surgery.
On May 13th of this year, the same day the Obama administration issued its policy that requires public schools to allow students to use the bathroom corresponding with one’s gender identity rather than biological sex, the government also finalized its Obamacare regulations for transgender patients.
Under regulations implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), physicians cannot deny transgender patients hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery even if the health care provider has a religious or conscientious objection to the procedures.
HHS’s rule applies to any health care provider or program that accepts federal dollars, including Medicaid and Medicare. The rule does not explicitly cover sex-reassignment surgery, but insurers could be challenged for denying the procedure to transgender patients.
In a statement released by his office, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said:
“The federal government has no right to force Texans to pay for medical procedures designed to change a person’s sex.”
“I am disappointed in the Obama Administration’s lack of consideration for medical professionals who believe that engaging in such procedures or treatment violates their Hippocratic Oath, their conscience, or their personal religious beliefs, which are protected by the Constitution and federal law.”
Texas is suing on behalf of the religious hospital network Franciscan Alliance and four other states are joining in the suit.
Paxton’s case against the Obama administration has been assigned to the same federal judge who late Sunday temporarily blocked the Education Department from enforcing its transgender bathroom policy, Judge Reed O’Connor.
School districts have the option to voluntarily implement the guidelines but the policy is no longer tied to federal education funding.
The Justice Department is expected to appeal the ruling, leaving a number of President Obama’s policies at risk and under debate as the end of his presidency nears.
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Source: independent journal
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