". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


‘A Vast Overreach’: Biden Announces Inclusion of Gender Identity in Affordable Care Act

April 30, 2024

The Biden administration announced a change they hope to make to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that conservatives believe “won’t survive legal scrutiny.”

Last week, President Joe Biden “announced plans to kneecap lady athletes: introducing sweeping, radical changes to Title IX that would trample on fairness for females in locker rooms, sports and other single-sex spaces. All with absolutely no regard for biological reality,” the New York Post wrote. This alone sparked immense outrage from those who care about protecting biological women from LGBT agendas. But adding gasoline to the fire, only days later, the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) made known their plans to include “gender identity” alongside the definition of “sex” under Section 1557 of the ACA.

A major concern accompanying this proposed revision is that medical professionals would be forced to perform sex-change procedures despite convictions against it. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra described this move as “a giant step forward for this country toward a more equitable and inclusive health care system.” But the push from the Biden administration to make medicine “inclusive” means basic biology and common sense are excluded, experts say. For instance, the Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) classified this decision as “a vast overreach that turns medicine upside-down.”

ADF Senior Council Marie Blake went on to describe the “Biden administration’s egregious rule” as one that “would alter the United States’ medical system for the worst.”

Additionally, as Solidarity HealthShare President Chris Faddis said, “By expanding the definition of ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity,’ physicians and medical staff can no longer opt out of performing morally objectionable procedures, like transgender surgeries, without the risk of losing critical federal funding.” He described the rule change as a “shameless targeting of faith-based healthcare systems and providers.” As far as Faddis is concerned, it “is unacceptable, but sadly not unexpected given this administration’s track record of hostility towards people of faith.”

Similar remarks continue to surface, despite HHS claiming medical providers could apply for “religious freedom and conscience exemption” — an assertion many are hesitant to bank their hopes on.

Family Research Council’s Arielle Del Turco, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, observed that the “Biden administration’s claims that this federal rule change will not infringe on religious liberty are far from reassuring.” Meanwhile, LGBT activist groups such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) have not only celebrated the ACA rule change, but “criticized the religious exemption” aspect. HRC wrote in a statement that the Biden administration’s “announcement provides much relief for LGBTQ+ Americans who are more likely to face discrimination and difficulty accessing services than those not in the LGBTQ+ community.”

But in light of the rule allowing “health care entities to request a waiver based on religious beliefs,” the group added, “[T]he only way to end discrimination is to prohibit denial of care and other forms [of] discrimination.” However, such a demand is the very outcome conservatives are striving to avoid becoming a reality.

Del Turco explained that due to “HHS’s move to radically redefine the word ‘sex’ via federal rulemaking” by including the term “gender identity,” there will be “a variety of repercussions, likely including for religious freedom and conscience protections for health care workers.” Ultimately, “[T]rying to fundamentally alter medicine — while ignoring biological reality — for an ideological purpose is wrong.”

Still, Becket Fund Vice President and Senior Counsel Luke Goodrich believes this change will likely fall through the cracks. “A similar rule from the Obama Admin was nixed by federal courts 2x,” he posted on X. “Now the Biden Admin is reimposing the same rule on doctors and hospitals who aren’t protected by earlier lawsuits. It won’t work,” adding, “This scheme is bad for patients, bad for religious liberty, and illegal.”

Should the Biden administration’s agenda come to fruition, Del Turco concluded, “It will inevitably result in situations where some medical professionals feel their religious convictions are at odds with facilitating or enabling the life-altering ‘gender-transition’ procedures that the HHS rule promotes.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.