AUSTIN, Texas (Christian Examiner) – Fresh off its win Sunday, when a federal judge issued a preliminary nationwide injunction against implementation of the Obama administration's "guidance" for transgender access to public school restrooms, the State of Texas has launched another lawsuit against the federal government – this time over the government's extension of its healthcare non-discrimination law to transgenders.
Texas, joined by Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska and Wisconsin, filed the complaint in the same U.S. District Court (North Texas) that issued Sunday's decision.
In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), like the Department of Education and Department of Justice in May, issued a new decree reinterpreting "sex" in the Affordable Care Act to include not only biological males and females, but also transgenders. Sex, according to the HHS, is a matter determined in the mind according to an "internal sense of gender which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female."
Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement President Obama and his administration do not have the right to change federal law by changing the meaning of words as they were defined at the time the law was passed. Congress has also specifically refused to redefine "sex."
How exactly would the change affect the states? It would require states to pay for "gender reassignment surgery" and other treatments (such as hormone therapy, plastic surgery, hysterectomies), as well as force doctors to participate in the process even when they feel it is not in the best interest of the patient. Should the physician refer the patient to another doctor, he or she may then be in violation of the anti-discrimination rule, the attorney general said.
"The federal government has no right to force Texans to pay for medical procedures designed to change a person's sex. 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 said of the lawsuit, his 13th against the Obama administration.
HHS has yet to issue a response to the lawsuit.
In the complaint, Texas and the other plaintiffs allege the federal government is seeking "to override the medical judgment of healthcare professionals across the country."
"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. 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," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also alleges that forcing doctor's to participate in the "transition" of a person from one sex to another – an act that is biologically impossible – would also force doctors to violate deeply held religious beliefs.
That is where the religious medical associations and Christian-based physicians come into play. The regulation, according to the lawsuit, would force them to "violate those religious beliefs and perform harmful medical transition procedures or else suffer massive financial liability."
As with the federal "guidance" on transgender access to public school restrooms, the new regulation also carried the threat of stripping the states of federal healthcare funding -- $42.4 billion for Texas alone.