EPPC Scholars and Others Oppose HHS’s Proposed Transgender Mandate in Healthcare

October 4, 2022

Yesterday, EPPC scholars Roger Severino, Rachel N. Morrison, and Mary Rice Hasson submitted a public comment opposing a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights that would impose a radical transgender mandate in health care.

Under the proposed regulations, HHS would redefine “sex discrimination” prohibitions under Obamacare (Section 1557) to require doctors to perform and insurers to cover a dangerous and expensive array of “gender identity” treatments and surgeries, including for minors.

These interventions would include, at a minimum:

  • Puberty blockers for children
  • Lifetime of cross-sex hormones
  • Genital and non-genital surgical procedures (hysterectomy, penectomy, mastectomy)
  • Blepharoplasty (eye and lid modification)
  • Face/forehead and/or neck tightening
  • Facial bone remodeling for facial feminization
  • Genioplasty (chin width reduction)
  • Rhytidectomy (cheek, chin, and neck)
  • Cheek, chin, and nose implants
  • Lip lift/augmentation
  • Mandibular angle augmentation/creation/reduction (jaw)
  • Orbital recontouring
  • Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)
  • Laser or electrolysis hair removal
  • Breast/chest augmentation, reduction, construction

The proposed regulations would trample the conscience and religious freedom rights of medical professionals. They also threaten the rights of providers and insurers to decline to assist or pay for elective abortions.

A diverse group of medical professionals and legal and policy experts also submitted comments opposing HHS’s Proposed Rule.

As the EPPC scholars explain in their comment:

“The Proposed Rule would radically remake American healthcare by replacing science-based medicine with ideology-driven mandates. As proposed, the Rule is arbitrary and capricious, exceeds statutory authority, and is unlawful and unconstitutional. The primary proposed changes are unsupported by substantial evidence. The Proposed Rule contradicts long-standing scientific understandings of human biology and thereby endangers public health. The Proposed Rule turns the clock back on girls’ and women’s rights, tramples parental rights, harms children’s interests, dismantles sex-based patient protections, and violates religious freedom and conscience rights of medical professionals, hospitals, and religious institutions. The Proposed Rule inverts our civil rights law and should be withdrawn and abandoned.”

“The Biden administration is so beholden to gender ideologues that it would redefine our sex discrimination laws to erase the very concept of women,” said EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino, who, as former Director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, oversaw drafting and implementation of the regulations under reconsideration. “By displacing biological sex with gender ideology in medicine, the rule would shutter faith-based health care providers, require the sterilization of kids, and force Americans to pay for it through their insurance premiums. The American people have had enough and are flooding HHS with comments begging them to stop,” added Severino.

About the EPPC comment signers:

Roger Severino, J.D., is an EPPC Senior Fellow, member of EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project, and is the former Director for the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services (2017–2021).

Rachel N. Morrison, J.D., is an EPPC Fellow, member of the HHS Accountability Project, and former attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Mary Hasson, J.D., is an EPPC Fellow, attorney, and co-founder of EPPC’s Person and Identity Project, an initiative that equips parents and faith-based institutions to counter gender ideology and promote the truth of the human person.

Other organizations and experts submitting comments opposing the proposed rule include:

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