Monday, January 02, 2017

Another Challenge Filed To HHS Rule on Transgender and Pregnancy Termination Discrimination

Another lawsuit has been filed challenging the Department of Health and Human Services rules that bar discrimination on the basis of gender identity or termination of pregnancy in the delivery of medical services by, among others, health facilities receiving federal financial assistance. Plaintiffs in this suit are Catholic organizations, including the entity that administers self-funded health plans for Catholic employers. The complaint (full text) in Catholic Benefits Association v. Burwell, (D ND, filed 12/28/2016) alleges that the rule requires plaintiffs to act in contravention of Catholic teachings:
HHS has taken a little-remarked-upon section of the ACA that prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex” and turned it into a mandate that coerces Catholic hospitals and other healthcare providers into performing, supporting, and even covering gender transition procedures, and coerces other Catholic employers, even Catholic dioceses, into covering them. The 1557 Rule also prevents Catholic entities from discriminating on the basis of “termination of pregnancy,” a phrase that likely creates an abortion mandate.
Catholic Review reports on the lawsuit.

Last month, a similar challenge was filed in the same North Dakota federal district court by different plaintiffs. (See prior posting). Last week a Texas federal district court issued a nation-wide preliminary injunction against enforcement of the rules being challenged. (See prior posting).