The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Biden administration cannot force a group of Catholic hospitals and doctors to perform transgender surgeries, Reuters reported.
On Friday, the court's three judges found that the Department of Health and Human Services violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when it attempted to force Sisters of Mercy, the University of Mary, and SMP Health System to perform the surgeries.
It followed a similar victory for conservative groups over the summer when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Christian medical organizations did not need to perform abortions.
The HHS had argued Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which bars sexual discrimination, should be enforced on the Catholic groups — the same section used as a basis for August's abortion case.
But last year, federal District Court Judge Peter D. Welte ruled in favor of North Dakota and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty's lawsuit on behalf of the Catholic groups, prompting the Biden administration's Eighth Circuit appeal.
"The federal government has no business forcing doctors to violate their consciences or perform controversial procedures that could permanently harm their patients," Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Vice President and Senior Counsel Luke Goodrich stated.
"This is a common-sense ruling that protects patients, aligns with best medical practice, and ensures doctors can follow their Hippocratic Oath to 'do no harm,'" he added.
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