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5th Circuit Rules Govt Cannot Punish Religious Hospitals for Refusing to Perform Abortions, Gender Transitions

5th Circuit Rules Govt Cannot Punish Religious Hospitals for Refusing to Perform Abortions, Gender Transitions

Religious freedom for the win.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the government cannot punish religious hospitals for refusing to perform abortions or any gender transitioning surgeries.

The plaintiffs were the Franciscan Alliance, Christian Medical and Dental Society, and Specialty Physicians of Illinois. They claimed the procedures violated their religious beliefs.

From Reuters:

A unanimous panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a lower court’s permanent order shielding Christian Medical and Dental Associations and Specialty Physicians of Illinois, along with Catholic hospital system Franciscan Alliance Inc, from any enforcement action under the ACA’s anti-discrimination provision, known as Section 1557, for refusing to perform the procedures, which they say would violate their religious freedom.

Circuit Judge Don Willett, joined by Circuit Judges Jennifer Elrod and Kurt Engelhardt, rejected the government’s argument that the case should be dismissed as moot because the original rule challenged by the providers had been overturned. Willett wrote that the providers still faced harm because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had “repeatedly refused to disavow enforcement” against them.

“In its brief on appeal, HHS simply says it ‘has not to date evaluated’ whether it will enforce Section 1557 against Franciscan Alliance — in other words, it concedes that it may,” he wrote.

Therefore, the providers faced harm.

The plaintiffs sued in Wichita Falls, TX, “challenging an Obama-era HHS rule, which interpreted Section 1557 as requiring health care providers to perform abortions or gender reassignment surgery if they receive federal funding or participate in ACA exchanges.”

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor vacated parts of the rule but didn’t enter an injunction.

The Trump administration rescinded the rule in 2020.

But the Christian groups wanted the injunction:

The court remanded the case to O’Connor for further consideration. He then entered a broad injunction against enforcing 1557 against the Christian groups to require the abortion and gender reassignment services.

HHS appealed the injunction, culminating in Friday’s ruling, in which the 5th Circuit sided with the lower court order.


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Steven Brizel | August 31, 2022 at 5:54 pm

In woke NY, the state courts have ordered Yeshiva University ( YU) which mandates observance to Jewish law and traditional Jewish studies for undergaduates to have a LGBT club on campus. YU has filed the attached petition for certioari which a conservative majority that is sensitive to issues relating to free exercise of religious issues may accept and reverse the woke NYS courts.

    gonzotx in reply to Steven Brizel. | August 31, 2022 at 6:29 pm

    Hate the Left Facists with every drop of my blood

    Have you read the trial court’s decision? Or see any news coverage of the reason for it? It’s really very simple and obviously correct: For decades YU has vociferously proclaimed itself to be a secular institution. It is explicitly denied having any religious mission or nature, and wrote that into its founding documents. This dates back to the 1960s or ’70s, when YU officially split from its rabbinic school, RIETS; they became two separate entities, one religious the other not. And for decades YU was happy to reap the benefits of being secular, getting grants that were for some reason not available to religious institutions. Now that there’s a gay club it has suddenly found religion and clutches its pearls at giving the club the same recognition as it does every other student club.

    And Judge Kotler said no, you can’t have it both ways. Either you’re religious or you’re secular. If you want to be a religious institution from now on, and to be treated that way, say so; amend your charter and bylaws and start behaving like one, and you’ll qualify for the same exemptions that all religious institutions do.

    I agree with her. The YU/RIETS split was a bad thing when it happened, and many people denounced it and predicted that it would end in tears. It seems to me that in doing so YU “wrote on a bull’s horn that it had no part of the G-d of Israel”, and this is the result at long last. Let YU repent, correct its error, and it won’t have to tolerate < gasp!> gay student clubs.

    Or maybe it can grow up and reach a deal with the club, that it can exist as long as it doesn’t explicitly promote any violation of Jewish law. All it really needs to do is follow the same rules of modesty that should be expected of all student clubs at a religious institution.

Antifundamentalist | August 31, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Some sanity at last!

Hmm, a sensible legal ruling. We can’t have that, I’m sure it’ll be overturned.

I’d start spreading the rumor he was dead. Worked against the Beatles.

(I’m only half kidding.)

Neither rites nor corruption. Two steps forward.

Aside from the First Amendment issues, which I believe override all other claims, only an idiot would demand that a doctor perform an operation on themselves that the doctor objected to, simply because said doctor would probably be the least qualified person around to perform the operation!