A group of five states and Christian healthcare providers sued the Obama administration Tuesday over a rule that could force doctors to violate their religious beliefs by providing medical services to transgender individuals.
Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas and Kentucky, were joined in the lawsuit by a Catholic health network in Indiana and some religiously affiliated healthcare organizations, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The lawsuit takes issue with a nondiscrimination regulation that the Department of Health and Human Services set forth in May.
The regulation states insurers must cover treatments for transgender individuals in the same way they would offer coverage for other patients. Healthcare providers, doctors and hospitals also have to provide treatment; as well, transgenders must be able to use the facilities according to the gender they identify as.
The regulation applies to those who accept federal money.
According to the lawsuit, the plantiffs argue that medical groups could be forced to go against their religious convictions. The lawsuit also states that medical groups might have to “perform harmful medical transition procedures or else suffer massive financial liability.”
“The regulation leaves doctors and hospitals in a very difficult position,” Luke Goodrich, a lawyer for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told the Wall Street Journal.
The regulation does not provide complete exemptions for healthcare providers that are affiliated with a religion; it does suggest they could claim an exemption under current federal religious freedom laws.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor. The judge recently blocked an Obama administration directive that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom according to their gender identity. RELATED: Judge Knocks Down Obama’s Transgender Bathroom Order
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