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Trump HHS Takes Vital Step to Protect Doctors From Being Forced to Perform Transgender Surgeries

Doctor holding rosary

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a new division to protect the religious freedom of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers. As LGBT activists try to enforce their worldview on sexuality issues, it is vitally important that health professionals retain the freedom to refuse to perform certain acts that violate their consciences.

"For too long too many of these health care practitioners have been bullied and discriminated against because of their religious beliefs and moral conviction," Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan said on Thursday, announcing the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom. He argued that the government has "hounded religious hospitals and the men and women who staff them, forcing them to provide and refer for services that violate their consciences."

The religious freedom debate often centers on controversial issues like homosexual activity, transgender identity, and abortion. Leftists consider impediments to each of these things to be a health risk. An LGBT activist might argue that transgender surgery is important for the mental health of a patient, and an abortion activist would argue that abortion empowers a woman to live her own life without the encumbrances of motherhood.

On the contrary, many conservatives would consider the surgical alteration of a healthy male or female body to be harmful, and therefore a violation of the Hippocratic Oath. Similarly, doctors and nurses might consider abortion to involve the killing of a human being, and so would object to providing certain abortifacient drugs or referring women to abortion clinics.

These are serious issues in the health community today.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, infamously included a contraception mandate, forcing employers to cover a variety of forms of contraception. Some of these contraceptives were more abortifacients — involving the destruction of an embryo in the womb rather than the prevention of conception.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Obama administration could not require Hobby Lobby to pay for abortifacients against the religious convictions of the store owners. In a subsequent case two years later, the Supreme Court also ruled that the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic charity, did not have to abide by the contraception mandate. The fact that these cases reached the Supreme Court is extremely concerning.

Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against a Roman Catholic hospital after it refused to perform a hysterectomy for a woman who identified as transgender. The hospital did not discriminate against a transgender person — it just does not provide elective sterilizations for anyone, as the Catholic health center considers such a procedure harmful to the patient's body.