Texas and four other states on Tuesday
filed a lawsuit that seeks to block implementation of federal rules
that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky and
Kansas joined Texas in the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of
three medical organizations.
The suit was announced by the Becket
Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Franciscan
Alliance, a Christian hospital network. A second plaintiff, the
Christian Medical & Dental Associations, is also affiliated with
“[T]he 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,” the lawsuit states. “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
The states claim that the Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS) is attempting “to impose these
dramatic new requirements” by redefining “sex” in the
Affordable Care Act (ACA) to include transgender individuals.
The regulation forces healthcare
professionals “to violate their deeply held religious beliefs,”
according to the lawsuit.
Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the
Human Rights Campaign (HRC), denied the lawsuit's claims, saying that
the rule “doesn't take away a doctor's ability to make informed
decisions in the best interest of their patients.”
“What the doctor can't do is say, 'I
won't treat you because you're transgender,” she told The
The case was assigned to U.S. District
Judge Reed O'Conner, who earlier this week sided with Texas in a
separate case involving transgender rights.
groups criticize judge's decision to block federal guidance on
HRC Communications Director Jay Brown
criticized Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's involvement in the
lawsuits. “Ken Paxton's continued attacks on transgender Americans
are politically motivated, designed to intimidate and simply beyond
the pale,” he said.