Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Court Enjoins Requirement That Christian Doctors Perform Gender Transition Procedures And Abortions

In Franciscan Alliance, Inc. v. Becerra, (ND TX, Aug. 9, 2021), on remand from the 5th Circuit, a Texas federal district court permanently enjoined enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act or implementing regulations against Christian health care providers and health plans in a manner that would require them to perform or provide insurance coverage for gender-transition procedures or abortions. The court said in part:

No party disputes that the current [Affordable Care Act] Section 1557 regulatory scheme threatens to burden Christian Plaintiffs’ religious exercise ... by placing substantial pressure on Christian Plaintiffs, in the form of fines and civil liability, to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender-transition procedures and abortions....

In reaching its conclusion, the court rejected mootness and other justiciability arguments that stemmed from shifting regulations while the case wound its way through the courts.