Published September 21, 2022
It is wrong to sterilize children. It is doubly wrong for the government to require doctors and hospitals to sterilize children. By definition, children are unable to consent to voluntary sterilization. Nonetheless, the Biden administration is moving forward with a plan that requires doctors and nurses to participate in sterilizing children.
The proposal, which adds new regulations under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), is wending its way through the bureaucratic process, with the opportunity for the public to submit comments closing on October 3. The administration’s legal argument, such as it is, is that nondiscrimination law requires participation in so-called gender affirming care, even for minors. The theory is that performing a hysterectomy on a woman with ovarian cancer but not on a teenaged girl who identifies as a man is sex discrimination.
This position is ridiculous, even within the bizarre labyrinth of the regulatory state. However, the attempt is a predictable result of the aggressive campaign to compel assent to, and even participate in, the rainbow agenda. The promise that LGBT rights would not infringe upon everyone else’s rights was always a lie. And so now the Biden administration is poised to try to force Catholic doctors and hospitals, along with other dissenters, to chemically and surgically sterilize patients, including children.
The other big lie of the LGBT movement is that it was just about the rights of consenting adults. But as the transgender debates have made clear, the LGBT movement was always coming for the children. They have used the lie that children are born into the rainbow elect as cover for an aggressive campaign to groom children into LGBT identities. Children are being indoctrinated in gender ideology by everyone from teachers to Tik-Tok (and teachers on Tik-Tok). This is why the debate is now about trans toddlers, puberty blockers, and testosterone and mastectomies for teenage girls.
Transgender activists and their allies claim that transgender identities are innate and immutable, and therefore it is best that social and medical transition begin as early as possible. All of this is false, built on some of the shoddiest science that has ever disgraced the medical field, and then mixed with social media cohorts encouraging troubled youth to take themselves hostage.
The evidence for the early-intervention Dutch Protocol is weak at best. Yet it became standard in much of the Western world. And while some nations such as Sweden and Britain are pulling back from its early-transition model, in the United States even its frail guardrails are being dismantled. The medical establishment is largely subservient to the activists of WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health).
This ostensibly professional medical organization has now embraced “Eunuch” as a valid gender identity, after it was pushed by creeps with sexual fantasies about castrating children. WPATH is crafting its guidelines with an eye not to medical best practices, but to avoiding legal liability by eliminating minimum age recommendations for medical transition. None of this is about helping children. Rather, it is about validating the decisions and ideologies of adult activists. At the recent WPATH conference, a speaker even argued that children should transition without mental health treatment.
And yet this group is seen as the leading authority on transgenderism. It is a classic example of how motivated activists can capture a field and its institutions. Yet it undoubtedly helped that there is a lot of money to be made from transgenderism. Those who transition not only rack up huge surgical bills, they become patients for life, perpetually in need of follow-up treatments and hormone injections.
But the exponential increase in clinics and doctors offering medical transition isn’t enough for activists and their allies in the Biden administration. They will not be happy so long as anyone is able to refuse to participate in their charade, hence the pending transgender mandate.
In a concession to the conscience rights Americans possess, the administration promises that it will implement a process by which individuals and institutions will be able to register their objections, which HHS will review on a “case-by-case” basis. But this is just lip service to the First Amendment, not any actual promise to exempt Christian doctors and institutions. As my EPPC colleague Rachel Morrison has explained:
This process is seen by many as a sham since HHS under Secretary Xavier Becerra has systematically targeted or ignored conscience and religious freedom protections, such as by sidelining HHS’s Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, abandoning the case of a nurse illegally forced to participate in abortion, rescinding protections for faith-based adopted and foster care agencies in three states, and proposing to rescind conscience protection regulations. Indeed, HHS refused in federal court to “disavow enforcement” of Section 1557 to require medical professionals to perform gender transition surgeries or abortions in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Those who believe it is essential to require doctors to participate in medical transition are unlikely to be sympathetic to conscientious objectors or fair judges of their claims. In essence, the government is saying is: Here’s our mandate. What are you going to do about it?
Over the next two weeks, regular Americans can do something about it. They can submit comments—including anonymous comments—urging the government to back off. And they can vote like they mean it.
Nathanael Blake, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His primary research interests are American political theory, Christian political thought, and the intersection of natural law and philosophical hermeneutics. His published scholarship has focused on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Alasdair MacIntyre and Russell Kirk. He is currently working on a study of J.R.R. Tolkien’s anti-rationalism. As a cultural observer and commentator, he is also fascinated at how our secularizing culture develops substitutes for the loss of religious symbols, meaning and order.