The Emperor’s New Genders: A 911 Call for Christians in Healthcare
October 31, 2019
by Mike Chupp, MD
This is my first opportunity to write for The Point since joining CMDA’s executive team in September 2016. That was a huge transitioning summer for my family, moving from Tenwek Hospital in Kenya to Bristol, Tennessee by way of St. Joseph, Michigan, where I had been a general surgeon partner in a multispecialty practice for 23 years. It was also a huge summer for CMDA as Dr. David Stevens, now CEO Emeritus, decided for the first time in CMDA history to take bold action in federal court by joining several states and religious organizations in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS had issued an updated version of the Patient Protection portion of the Affordable Care Act (Section 1557), which included the interpretation of sex discrimination (from the original 1964 Civil Rights Act) as “gender identity” and “right to termination of pregnancy.” The resulting edict to healthcare professionals in the U.S. required gender transitioning procedures or treatments be offered by healthcare professionals who routinely offered those treatments to other patients (such as hormonal treatment or breast surgery) or lose reimbursement for provision of Medicaid/Medicare services. This “transgender mandate” could have seriously impacted a wide range of healthcare professionals, including general surgeons like myself who perform breast cancer surgery.
The lawsuit against HHS, officially Franciscan Alliance v. Azar, was filed to halt the new regulation in July 2016. Judge Reed O’Conner of the North Texas federal district court handed down a temporary injunction in December 2016. On October 15, 2019, the same judge issued a final ruling with a permanent injunction, citing the regulation’s clear incompatibility with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.
At this time, it is unclear whether the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Texas will appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court. (The judge also ruled the ACLU could serve as intervenor for HHS, given the political change-over of the administration of HHS after the 2016 presidential election).
In May 2019, HHS issued a new proposed Section 1557 that takes the definition of sex back to its biological basis, not the “innate sense of gender” basis. This new regulation, however, has been challenged in several federal courts including New York. CMDA has been recognized as an appropriate intervenor on behalf of HHS in the New York district court, defending the new conscience protection regulation. Once again, Becket Fund is representing CMDA, along with Dr. Stevens and CMDA member Dr. Regina Frost, an OB/Gyn from Detroit, Michigan, who are serving as spokespeople. You can view Dr. Frost’s moving testimony and learn more about this case at this link.
As I write this blog, news is sweeping across the U.S. of 7-year-old James, a twin boy whose mother, Dallas, Texas pediatrician Dr. Anne Georgulas, desires for “him” to have gender-affirming treatment as a girl. According to Dr. Georgulas, James has preferred the name Luna since “his” third birthday after James saw the animated movie Frozen, so Dr. Gerogulas has been using the name Luna, while James’ father Jeffrey Younger continues to call “him” James and has tried to get custody in a Texas court. A jury in the case handed Luna’s mother sole custody in a 11-1 decision, but then Judge Kim Cooks ruled that the parents would equally share custody. NBC News reported that the judge stated in a hearing that both parents love their children, and she noted the 7-year-old appears comfortable as a male or a female. I find it significant that the time frame in which James allegedly preferred the name Luna (per “his” father) is around the time of the divorce proceedings. I put the pronouns “him/his” above in quotes because the pronouns in a Washington Post article from October 24 switch to “they” when referring to Luna:
“Georgulas took Luna to see a therapist, who diagnosed the child with gender dysphoria—a mismatch between the gender assigned at birth and the one they identified with. From there, the therapist laid out steps on how to make the child feel affirmed, like letting Luna paint their nails and putting them in a dress, as the mother did when the twins turned 5” (emphasis added).
To account for the childhood gender confusion, the media apparently sacrificed third-person plural pronouns. Both sides of the political aisle are pointing fingers at the other side with accusations of taking advantage of a 7-year-old’s struggle and extremely difficult family and social situation.
If we had any doubts that we lived in a “mad, mad world,” this week’s news of several major producers of feminine care products dropping Venus symbols completes the madness package. The companies caved to pressures in order to appease transgender “women” who claim it is not only cis-gender women who have menstrual flow on a monthly basis.
The subject of transgenderism has been featured in CMDA’s last two National Convention workshop schedules, and we enjoyed an excellent 2019 plenary presentation by Dr. Nancy Pearcy on the topic of her most recent book Love Thy Body. I highly recommend her book to healthcare professionals who are willing to serve as truth-telling “plumb lines” in an off-kilter culture denying biological realities.
The other resource I highly recommend is the special report “Sexuality and Gender” by Lawrence Mayer, PhD, and Paul McHugh, MD, published in the fall 2016 edition of The New Atlantis. Even if you only have time to read the executive summary, it will be well worth your time. It is no surprise this report has engendered tremendous backlash from the medical scientific community, including Johns Hopkins School of Medicine which has resumed gender affirmation clinics and surgery. I found it most instructional to read the harsh reviews of this article, as they primarily attempt to reject its conclusions because the study was not published in a peer-reviewed journal. Even though the authors quoted studies from a vast array of peer-reviewed journals in this paper, I wonder what peer-reviewed journal in today’s climate would publish ANY study making the conclusion that there is NO clear biologic basis of sexual orientation or gender. Even the recent large study in Science shows no clear genetic basis for same-sex behavior. According to NPR, the results of the study were not released until consultation was done with representatives of the LGBTQ community, who advised the authors on creating a website to explain the study results.
If Christian healthcare professionals who deal with the everyday realities of biological sex cannot speak out today, then who will? You will likely remember the old Hans Christian Andersen story of the “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Two swindlers used distortion, shame and fear on the part of those must trusted by the Emperor to promote the ruse he was wearing clothing with “special powers.” It was the innocence of a small boy to point out the farce of the emperor’s supposed new fashion. “But he hasn’t got anything on,” the boy declared! Even his own father, out of fear of the emperor, tried to delegitimatize his son’s astute observation. The Emperor finally realized the “naked truth,” yet the story ends with the Emperor declaring, “This procession has got to go on!”
It is incredibly sad and distressing to me that a small boy is now a victim of an ideological farce in the state of Texas. My heart goes out to him as he struggles in the setting of divorced parents, being told at times that “he” is not what “he” appears to be. Christ gave a very stern warning to those who messed with “little ones” in Luke 17:1-3, “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves’” (NIV 1984).
Let me conclude by appreciating the help of Andre Van Mol, MD, a primary care physician who is a regular contributor to The Point. Dr. Van Mol has tirelessly spoken out in California against strong cultural forces working to promote transgenderism, both inside and outside the state government. An excellent new resource for healthcare professionals who advise parents and care for adolescents and teens is the “Parent Resource Guide: Responding to the Transgender Issue.” I am grateful to Dr. Van Mol for bringing this resource to our attention at CMDA in his latest blog post.