On May 10, the Biden administration announced that it would force doctors who can perform sex transition surgery to do so, regardless of their religious objections. This is a declaration of war by the Department of Health and Human Services on Catholic doctors and hospitals. It will also be contested in the federal courts.

Title IX of civil rights law bars discrimination based on sex, but says nothing about transgender persons. Yet both the Obama and Biden administrations insist that this provision should cover transgender persons; the Trump administration held to the original understanding.

In a May 10 news story by the Associated Press (AP) on this subject, it said that the Obama administration “relied on a broad understanding of sex shaped by a person’s inner sense of being male, female, neither or a combination.”

Paradoxically, this AP interpretation is both accurate and inaccurate at the same time.

It accurately conveys what both the Obama and Biden administrations believe: being male or female is a subjective judgment, one that allows a man or a woman to deny that they are a man or a woman, or any sex at all, for that matter. Which means they could be an acorn. It is inaccurate because it is a fiction: one’s “inner sense” of what sex one belongs to may be inaccurate. What matters is reality, not tales from “The Twilight Zone.”

This assault on religious liberty began in 2015 when the Obama administration issued a mandate requiring doctors and hospitals to provide for transgender surgeries; it was then tied up in the courts. They made no exemption for those who had religious objections. Neither does the Biden administration. What this means is that Catholic physicians who can perform sex reassignment surgery can be forced to do so; Catholic hospitals are also denied a religious exemption.

Pope Francis has observed that “biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated.” The bishops’ conference agrees, saying it opposes religious organizations “to cover ‘transition’ procedures in their employee health insurance plans….”

It must be noted that Catholic hospitals do not deny routine health care to transgender persons. There is a difference between denying transgender persons treatment for Covid and forcing a Catholic doctor to make anatomical changes on the sexually confused.

The Biden administration’s war on Catholic hospitals is one of many policies it has promoted that endanger religious liberty. That they are being shoved down our throats by a man who professes to be a “devout Catholic” is all the more nauseating.

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