Transgender Health Regs Trigger Texas Suit

     WICHITA FALLS, Texas (CN) — In Texas’ latest salvo in its fight over national transgender policies, the state says the Obama administration cannot change the determination of gender from “biological fact” to a “state of mind” and force physicians to perform sex-reassignment surgeries.
     Texas, four other states and three physicians associations sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday in Federal Court, claiming the new Affordable Care Act rule is an example of “regulatory overreach that is invading the coffers” of the state and violating the “medical judgment and conscience rights” of physicians.
     “On pain of significant financial liability, the regulation forces doctors to perform controversial and sometimes harmful medical procedures ostensibly designed to permanently change an individual’s sex — including the sex of children,” the 79-page complaint states.
     “Under the new regulation, a doctor must perform these procedures even when they are contrary to the doctor’s medical judgment and could result in significant, long-term medical harm. Thus, the regulation represents a radical invasion of the federal bureaucracy into a doctor’s medical judgment”
     Texas argues that Congress has consistently defined the term “sex” for several decades and across several federal laws as meaning a patient’s biological sex at birth.
     “Thus, with a single stroke of the pen, Health and Human Services has created a massive new liability for thousands of health care professionals unless they cast aside their medical judgment and perform controversial and even harmful medical transition procedures,” the complaint states. “And Health and Human Services has done this despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly rejected similar attempts to redefine ‘sex’ through legislation, and federal courts have repeatedly rejected attempts to accomplish the same goal through litigation.”
     Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday morning that President Barack Obama “does not have the power to rewrite law.” He said Obama is trying to rewrite the definition of “sex” as a person’s “internal sense of gender which may be male, female, neither, or a combination” of both genders.
     “The federal government has no right to force Texans to pay for medical procedures designed to change a person’s sex,” Paxton said in a written statement. “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.”
     Paxton noted that this is the 13th lawsuit he has filed against the federal government for alleged constitutional violations.
     He sued the Obama administration last month over its directive that all schools that receive federal money must classify students based on gender identity, not what is listed on their birth certificates. A Dallas federal judge ruled for Texas last week, entering a preliminarily barring the directive from taking effect.
     The other states joining Texas in the lawsuit include Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky and Kansas. The physicians’ groups include Franciscan Alliance, Specialty Physicians of Illinois and Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

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