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Court Cases

VICTORY!

Restoring Medical Judgment and Conscience on Gender Issues

Case: Franciscan Alliance v. Azar
Represented by: Becket
Case Start Date: August 23, 2016
Final DecisionOctober 15, 2019
Deciding Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Original Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

CASE SNAPSHOT
A federal mandate issued in 2016 required doctors to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, including a child, even if the doctor believed the procedure would be harmful. That rule was struck down in court after it was challenged by nine states, several religious organizations, and an association of over 19,000 healthcare professionals. In May 2019, HHS proposed bringing its regulations into compliance with those decisions and ensuring that the personal decision to undergo gender transition procedures is kept between patients and their doctors, free from government interference.

STATUS
On October 15, 2019, the court struck down the regulation, ensuring that doctors can continue practicing their profession consistent with their conscience.

Read more about the victory.
Read more about the transgender mandate.

Defending the 2019 HHS Conscience Rule

CASE SNAPSHOT
Religious healthcare professionals care for all patients and are consistently on the front lines serving the most vulnerable members of our society, including under-served poor and migrant communities; victims of gang violence, sex trafficking, opioid addiction, and deadly epidemics and prisoners living with HIV. In May 2019, HHS released a new Conscience Rule allowing religious healthcare professionals to continue their important work without having to perform certain procedures which would be inconsistent with their beliefs.

But several states, including the state of New York, are now suing to block this rule and force Dr. Frost and others to either violate their conscience or end their practice. Becket is defending medical conscience rights for religious healthcare professionals nationwide so that they can continue their ministry providing compassionate care across the globe.

On June 25, 2019, Becket intervened to defend Dr. Regina Frost and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations from New York’s lawsuit, arguing that healthcare professionals should not be forced to perform medical procedures that would require them to violate their beliefs. The Conscience Rule reaffirms what the First Amendment and dozens of federal statutes already guarantee: religious Americans—including doctors—do not have to compromise their faith to serve those in need.

Religious freedom protects the rights of individuals to live out their faith in all facets of their lives—including in their professions. This lawsuit threatens the ability of religious healthcare professionals to provide quality, compassionate healthcare, forcing them to choose between their conscience and their practice.

Read more at Becket...

UPDATE: CMDA Vows to Press on After Court Ruling Endangers Conscience Protections

Rights of Conscience:

"... There could be a court order that could cause me and other physicians to have to perform procedures ... we feel are morally wrong..."

New York vs. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Abstracts and Summaries

CASE ABSTRACT

Regina Frost, MD

Regina Frost is an OB-GYN and a member of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations. Religious healthcare professionals like Dr. Frost care for all patients and are consistently on the frontlines serving the most vulnerable members of our society, including underserved poor and migrant communities; victims of gang violence, sex trafficking, opioid addiction, and deadly epidemics and prisoners living with HIV.

In May 2019, HHS released a new Conscience Rule enforcing existing laws that allow religious healthcare professionals to continue their important work without having to perform certain procedures which would be inconsistent with their beliefs. But several states, including the state of New York, are now suing to prevent the Conscience Rule from protecting doctors and force Dr. Frost and others to either violate their conscience or end their practice. Becket is defending medical conscience rights for religious healthcare professionals nationwide so that they can continue their ministry providing compassionate care across the globe.

CASE ABSTRACT

The Issue:

In May 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the Conscience Rule, a new regulation enforcing 25 existing federal statutes and ensuring conscience protections for religious physicians and faith-based healthcare providers. The rule protects religious healthcare providers from being forced to perform procedures that violate their conscience. These protections are good for those in need, good for the society, and good for religious liberty.

Several states, led by New York, are now suing to prevent the Conscience Rule from protecting doctors. This lawsuit will not only hurt the doctors who are motivated by their faith to do God’s work, but also those who voluntarily come to them in need of care.

JUNE 25, 2019

Becket Defends Faith-based Health Professionals

Becket intervened to defend Dr. Frost and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations from New York’s lawsuit, arguing that healthcare professionals should not be forced to perform medical procedures that would require them to violate their beliefs. The Conscience Rule reaffirms what the First Amendment and dozens of federal statutes already guarantee: religious Americans—including doctors—do not have to compromise their faith to serve those in need. 

Religious freedom protects the rights of individuals to live out their faith in all facets of their lives—including in their professions. This lawsuit threatens the ability of religious healthcare professionals to provide quality, compassionate healthcare, forcing them to choose between their conscience and their practice.

Dr. Regina Frost has practiced medicine for 15 years, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. She helps lead a network of female healthcare professionals called Women Physicians in Christ, a ministry of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) that is committed to supporting women physicians and dentists by integrating their personal, spiritual, and professional lives.  [READ MORE FROM BECKET]

CASE ABSTRACT

The Solution:

Society is better off when medical professionals who are motivated by their convictions are free to provide quality care. People of good will can agree no doctor should be forced to violate their conscience by providing procedures such as abortions.

The Conscience Rule ensures that doctors can continue to provide lifesaving medicine and compassionate care to all their patients. All Dr. Frost and other CMDA doctors ask is for the ability continue their important work according to their faith and conscience, without being forced to perform certain procedures, like abortions, that violate their faith. CMDA doctors follow both biblical teachings and the Hippocratic Oath, which compel all doctors to heal and do no harm. 

Legal Documents

Memorandum in Support of the Motion to Intervene in New York v. HHS

The 2019 Final Rule clarifies the reach of federal conscience and anti-discrimination laws, encourages certain recipients of federal funds to notify individuals and entities of their rights under federal law, and strengthens the investigative and enforcement tools necessary to carry out HHS’s responsibilities.

Download the Complete Legal Document
Download Here
Motion to Intervene by Dr. Regina Frost and CMDA in State of New York v. HHS

Dr. Regina Frost and Christian Medical and Dental Associations, and Declarations of Dr. Regina Frost and Dr. David Stevens dated June 25, 2019, Proposed Intervenors will move this Court, before the Honorable Paul A. Engelmayer, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York...

Download the Complete Legal Document
Download Here
Declaration of David Stevens M.D., M.A., (Ethics) in Support of Motion to Intervene

The 2019 Final Rule clarifies the reach of federal conscience and anti-discrimination laws, encourages certain recipients of federal funds to notify individuals and entities of their rights under federal law, and strengthens the investigative and enforcement tools necessary to carry out HHS’s responsibilities.

Download the Complete Legal Document
Download Here
Declaration of Dr. Regina Frost in Support of Motion to Intervene

I believe that the federal government should protect healthcare providers’ conscience rights to ensure that no employer, or state or municipal government, can require healthcare professionals to perform or facilitate procedures to which they have sincere religious objections, or punish healthcare professionals for refusing to perform or facilitate such procedures.

Download the Complete Legal Document
Download Here
Communicate and Educate Lawmakers with Resources to Use in Visits, Calls and Messages. Please Donate to CMDA to Help Us Fight for Your Conscience Rights.

Court Cases Summary

Over 60 cases advancing the cause of life and freedom with the aid of partner legal organizations.