(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Calif.) announced Thursday that he and 47 of his colleagues have sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell expressing “a number of significant concerns” with an HHS regulation requiring “doctors to perform gender transition procedures or treatments on patients including children, even if the doctor believes the procedures could be harmful.”
The new rule, Section 1557, went into effect in July and prohibits health programs that receive federal funding from HHS from discriminating against an individual on the basis of gender identity, gender expression and transgender status.
“This rule for the first time in history requires doctors to perform gender transition procedures or treatments on patients including children, even if the doctor believes the procedures could be harmful,” the congressmen wrote.
“Doctors who follow their oath to act in the best interest of the patients by refusing to perform these procedures face massive financial penalties and even job loss,” they added.
“The very guidance cited by HHS to justify this rule includes studies showing that up to ninety-four percent of children who wrestle with gender dysphoria will outgrow the dysphoria naturally and become comfortable in the bodies they were born with,” the members added.
“Children are some of the most vulnerable in our population,” the letter emphasized, “and this rule strips doctors of their ability to counsel and advise the best course of medical care in their professional judgment if they believe gender transition procedures to be harmful.”
The letter concluded with a request for answers to a series of questions from HHS, asking for specifics about health care providers’ conscience rights and exemptions under the new regulation as it applies to specific procedures.
It asked whether a doctor who prescribes puberty blocking medication to children for a medical condition known as “precocious puberty” would be required under the new rule to prescribe that same medication to children for gender dysphoria “even if the doctor’s best medical judgment was that such treatments are always experimental and inappropriate to provide to children to facilitate a gender transition.”
Similarly, the letter asked about a doctor who provides hysterectomies to treat uterine cancer but would have ethical and religious objections to providing that same procedure to facilitate a gender transition.
The letter also pointed out that the military’s TRICARE health plan contains a guidance memo on gender dysphoria that specifies “in no circumstance will a provider be required to deliver care that he or she feels unprepared to provide either by lack of clinical skill or due to ethical, moral, or religious beliefs.”
They asked HHS to “explain in concrete detail why the Department’s final rule does not provide similar protection for the clinical limitations, or ethical, moral, or religious belief of covered entities.” Keep reading