EPPC Scholars Meet with Federal Officials to Discuss Concerns with HHS’ Section 1557 Transgender Mandate

February 2, 2024

On Friday, February 2, 2024, EPPC scholars Eric Kniffin, Rachel N. Morrison, and Natalie Dodson met with officials in the Executive Office of the President to oppose a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.  

Section 1557 prohibits healthcare programs that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of sex. The EPPC scholars’ comments take issue with HHS’s ongoing efforts to “interpret” this noncontroversial provision into a mandate that coerces healthcare providers and insurance plans into covering abortions and “gender transition” procedures. As Kniffin and Morrison explained in their recent commentary criticizing HHS’s final regulations interpreting federal conscience protection laws, HHS continues to abuse the regulatory process in order to advance its radical policy goals—goals that Congress and the American people do not share.  

As the scholars’ comment explained,  

HHS’s rule would harm children and negatively impact the healthcare industry and access to care. The rule also has massive implications for conscience and religious freedom rights, which HHS continues to set aside in pursuit of the administration’s and Secretary Becerra’s policy goals.  

Given the flagrant legal problems with the proposed rule, and given that HHS already conceded defeat in legal challenges to its 2016 Section 1557 rule, we are confident this proposal awaits a similar fate. If HHS continues down the path set out in the proposed rule, this rule will be the subject of extensive litigation, just like the 2016 Rule. Plaintiffs will win these lawsuits, just like with the 2016 Rule. 

A written version of their comments, submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), is available here (PDF).  

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