Here We Go: Eighth Circuit Court considers transgender mandate

ST. LOUIS (BP) – A federal appeals court is considering whether a lower court was correct in halting government regulations that require health care providers to perform or provide insurance coverage for gender-transition procedures.

A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis heard oral arguments Dec. 15 in a case involving a challenge by Catholic hospitals and other institutions, as well as an order of nuns, to what has been described as the transgender mandate.

Federal judge Peter Welte of North Dakota issued an injunction in February that blocked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from enforcing their interpretations of a section of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health-care reform law. Welte ruled that requiring the Catholic entities to provide drugs and conduct surgeries for sex reassignment, or to cover such treatments, “violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Welte is one of two federal judges who have blocked enforcement of the mandate, which was issued in 2016 during the Obama administration and revived earlier this year under President Biden.

Southern Baptist ethics leader Brent Leatherwood said, “Previous courts have already struck down this mandate, and the Eighth Circuit should do the same.

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Source: Baptist Press