Christian Medical & Dental Associations celebrates victory in federal court that sets nationwide precedent
Bristol, Tenn.—November 29, 2022—Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), which is the nation’s largest faith-based professional healthcare association, today is celebrating a final victory in its federal court case to protect the religious beliefs of healthcare professionals from being forced to perform gender-transition procedures or abortions against their conscience and best medical judgment.
“This key legal battle is a hard-fought victory that impacts and protects the rights of healthcare professionals across this country,” said CMDA CEO Mike Chupp, MD, FACS. “After more than six years of fighting this case in federal court, we have now set a national precedent and ensured we can continue to provide the best and safest care to our patients.”
For the last six years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has pushed a controversial “transgender mandate,” which threatens religious doctors and hospitals with penalties unless they perform gender transitions in violation of their conscience in medical judgment. The case of Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra was brought by CMDA, a group of religious hospitals and nine states, and it appeared poised to head to the U.S. Supreme Court after a unanimous victory in federal appeals court in August 2022. Last week, the Biden administration gave up on seeking Supreme Court review—meaning this victory for religious liberty now stands as a powerful precedent nationwide.
“The Obama Administration issued the mandate six years ago and tried to apply it to virtually every doctor nationwide. It would have required doctors to perform gender transitions on any patient, including children. The medical professionals that challenged the mandate happily serve all patients, regardless of sex or gender identity. But they can’t perform these procedures, which are widely disputed in the medical community. Many see the procedures as physically harmful with no psychological benefits—especially when performed on children,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket. CMDA was represented in this case by Becket, a non-profit, public interest legal and educational institution.
“CMDA’s national polling proves that healthcare professionals of faith are committed to caring for all patients with dignity and respect,” said CMDA Senior Vice President of Bioethics and Public Policy Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA (Ethics), who is an OB/Gyn. “And our ability to compassionately treat our patients and exercise sound medical judgment is now protected at a critical juncture when the evidence against gender-affirming care continues to pile up.”
Earlier this year, the United Kingdom announced it would be shutting down its state-run youth gender-transition clinic, following a report identifying the risks from its “unquestioning affirmative approach.” And just last week, the New York Times highlighted the “emerging evidence of potential harm” from the “puberty blockers” that are typically prescribed as the first step to gender transition, noting they can lead to dangerously low bone density and commit children to the transition path, even if they would desist without intervention.
“No one should be forced to violate their conscience or sincere religious beliefs,” said Dr. Barrows. “Most importantly, each patient we treat is better off when healthcare professionals who are motivated by their convictions are free to provide quality care without being forced to check those convictions at the door.”