EXCLUSIVE: Republican Lawmakers Press Biden To Stop Persecuting Religious Hospitals, Doctors

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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More than a dozen Republican lawmakers wrote to the Biden administration to express opposition to a newly proposed rule that would curtail religious liberty in health care earlier in October, the Daily Caller has learned.

Six Republican senators and 15 members of the House of Representatives submitted a public comment against the newly proposed rule on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would compel health insurers and health care providers to perform procedures like abortions and gender-reassignment surgeries against their will. The proposed rule would bolster the non-discrimination portion of the ACA to expand the procedures protected under the class of “sex” to include abortion and gender identity-related care.

HHS 1557 Rule Comment 10.3.22 Final Submission by Dylan Housman on Scribd

“This Proposed Rule makes no attempt to actually ensure equal access to health care based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability,” the lawmakers wrote in their comment, first reported on by the Daily Caller. “Instead, it takes an unprecedented departure from the law by requiring coverage and mandating performance of medical procedures and interventions that not only lack medical necessity, but are often harmful to the patient.”

The comment calls for the proposed rule to be “immediately withdrawn.” Lawmakers signed on to the comment include Senators Roger Marshall of Kansas, Steve Daines of Montana, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Lee of Utah and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Brian Babin and Jake Ellzey of Texas, Robert Aderholt of Alabama, Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Michael Guest of Mississippi, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, John Moolenaar of Michigan, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, David Rouzer of North Carolina, Daniel Webster of Florida and Doug Lamalfa of California also signed on to the comment.

“This Proposed Rule redefines sex-based discrimination under Section 1557 to imply that health care providers must pay for, cover, or provide abortions (potentially to include abortion-inducing drugs) as a condition of participating in a Federal health care program or activity,” the comment says regarding abortion. “Elective abortion is not health care.”

It also takes aim at changes to facilitate sex-change procedures, blasting the new rule as an “over-reaching policy change” that would “force health care providers to provide, and health insurance to cover, experimental gender transition procedures and drugs such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender-reassignment surgeries.” The comment notes the changes would not only apply to adults, but minors as well. (RELATED: Majority Of American Voters, Including Many Democrats, Oppose Sex-Change Surgeries For Minors: POLL)

Supporters of the rule change, which include a group of 38 Democratic lawmakers who also submitted a public comment, argue it strengthens protections for Americans with non-traditional gender identities or sexual traits, and protects the alleged right to abortion.

The rule, if implemented, could be used to target the growing number of Catholic hospitals in the United States, which are often the only available healthcare centers in rural areas and typically do not provide the types of care that would be protected by the rule change. It would be only the latest of a number of policy changes implemented by Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to protect abortion access and facilitate sex changes for minors since the Biden administration took office.