A federal appeals court on Friday permanently blocked the Biden administration’s mandate from forcing doctors and hospitals to perform procedures that go against their moral convictions.
Catholic employers had sued arguing that the government’s mandate “forces doctors to perform controversial and sometimes harmful medical procedures” and violated their religious conscience.
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This makes the Eighth Circuit appeals court the second circuit to block the mandate, after the Fifth Circuit ruled similarly in Auguest year in Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra.
Breitbart reports: The plaintiffs, a coalition of Catholic hospitals, a Catholic university, and Catholic nuns who run healthcare clinics for the poor, were represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
“The federal government has no business forcing doctors to violate their consciences or perform controversial procedures that could permanently harm their patients,” Becket vice president and senior counsel Luke Goodrich said in a press release. “This is a common-sense ruling that protects patients, aligns with best medical practice, and ensures doctors can follow their Hippocratic Oath to ‘do no harm.’”
After inheriting the mandate from the Obama administration, the Biden administration sought to force doctors to perform “gender transition” surgeries — mutilation — and prescribe puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone drugs, and other procedures.
Invoking the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Biden administration threatened noncompliant hospitals and doctors with millions of dollars in financial penalties, as it attempted to enforce its redefinition of discrimination on the basis of sex to include gender identity.
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the original district court opinion, ruling, “district court correctly held that ‘intrusion upon the Catholic Plaintiffs’ exercise of religion.’”
On a media call Friday afternoon, Goodrich said “today’s decision is a huge win for religious freedom, but not only for religious freedom, but for common sense, and sound medical judgment.”
The ruling is somewhat narrow, in that only the parties in the cases are protected by the permanent injunction. Despite that, the rulings do set a strong precedent for other doctors to obtain similar protections in the future.
“Today’s victory sets an important precedent that religious healthcare professionals are free to practice medicine in accordance with their consciences and experienced professional judgment,” Goodrich said. “The government’s attempt to force doctors to go against their consciences was bad for patients, bad for doctors, and bad for religious liberty.”
The Biden administration has 45 days to ask a full panel of Eighth Circuit judges to rehear the case or 90 days to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Goodrich said on the call that he doubts the Biden administration will go forward with an appeal.
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