EPPC Amicus Brief Defends Catholic Hospital’s Refusal to Provide “Gender Transition” Coverage 

Published April 19, 2024


On Friday, April 19, 2024, the Ethics and Public Policy Center filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pritchard v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. Plaintiff Patricia Pritchard and her minor daughter have health care through her employer, Catholic Health Initiatives. Pritchard’s minor daughter was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Pritchard’s lawsuit claims that it is illegal sex discrimination for her Catholic employer to exclude “gender transition” coverage from its health plan. 

EPPC’s amicus brief, co-authored by EPPC fellows Eric Kniffin and Mary Rice Hasson, draws on the Person & Identity Project’s research to show that the plaintiffs are wrong to claim that “gender transitions” for minors are medically necessary under well-established standards of care.

The brief argues:

[T]here is not, and has never been, a national or international medical consensus regarding an authoritative standard of care for gender dysphoria . . . Plaintiffs’ claims cannot be reconciled with recent changes in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, England, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Scotland, which reflect growing evidence and well-grounded concerns that these medical interventions cause more harm than good . . .

Two recent developments—the WPATH Files and the Cass Review—reflect the evidence outlined above and leave no doubt that Plaintiffs are wrong to claim that so-called gender-affirming care is “medically necessary” and “provided pursuant to well-established guidelines.”

The brief urges the court to reverse the lower court’s holding that excluding “gender transition” coverage constitutes sex discrimination.

Click here to read the full brief (PDF).

Eric Kniffin is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he works on a range of initiatives to protect and strengthen religious liberty as part of EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project.

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