Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021

Discrimination or ‘Do No Harm’: Christian Doctors Gear Up for Transgender Debates

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As cultural conflicts around transgender identity grow more intense, Christian doctors see a need to be more sensitive to the plights and preferences of people experiencing gender dysphoria while also holding firm to personal and professional convictions around biological sex.

That’s what the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) says in an updated statement on transgender identification that leaders hope will inform its 20,000 members as well as the general public.

That balance might be difficult to maintain, though, if federal health officials take the position that declining certain treatments for transgender patients can be considered a form of discrimination based on sex.

Last week, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that antidiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act include sexual orientation and gender identity. The current administration’s stance revives a contested interpretation under President Barack Obama.

Though the HHS announcement said the department would comply with religious freedom protections in its enforcement under this interpretation, the decision raises the stakes for two current lawsuits over conscience protections for religious hospitals and doctors who do not perform certain procedures for faith reasons—and it is expected to spur further legal challenges.

“We do know that this is happening. Our fear, as an organization, is we had a temporary reprieve under the Trump administration,” said Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, CMDA’s senior vice president of bioethics and public policy. “We are very concerned and expect that we’ll have an increase in lawsuits and threats against our members and other Christian health …

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