WICHITA FALLS -- The state of Texas has filed a federal complaint on behalf of religiously affiliated healthcare providers and four states regarding a rule change in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that forces them to offer specific services to patients seeking sex change procedures.

The rule, added and administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “seeks to override the medical judgment of healthcare professionals across the country,” the almost 80-page complaint says.

The complaint challenges the ACA’s definition of “sex,” saying it has been modified from something determined at birth to “an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither or a combination of male and female.”

“With one stroke of the pen, HHS has created a massive new liability for healthcare professionals unless they cast aside their medical judgment and perform controversial and even harmful medical transition procedures,” the complaint states.

The complaint also alleges that the federal government has overstepped its authority on a number of fronts with the new rule and does not provide a religious objections exemption.

The complaint was filed against HHS Aug. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Wichita Falls Division, by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on behalf of the Franciscan Alliance Inc., Specialty Physicians of Illinois LLC, and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, and is joined by the states of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky and Kansas.

“As the Obama Administration has attempted to do in other instances, this new rule interprets ‘sex’ as a state of mind, not a biological fact,” said a press release from Paxton’s office. “The president does not have the power to rewrite law.”

Paxton said the rule would require taxpayers to fund all treatments related to sexual transition and takes diagnosis and control away from physicians.

“Under the new rule,” Paxton said, “a physician who believes that certain treatments are not in a patient’s best medical interests may be in violation of federal law.”

Paxton said the complaint is the 13th filed by his office concerning constitutional overreach by the Obama Administration. He said it was filed because the new rules apply to any entity that receives federal health care funding, an issue that could cost them billions of dollar a year in federal funding.

The complaint goes into great detail to document the constitutional problems with the adoption rule, saying it is in effect an end-around to legislate sexual orientation and gender identity protections after several unsuccessful legislative attempts to include the new protections in federal Civil Rights law.

It says the issue is similar to congressional constraints on forcing religiously affiliated doctors and healthcare systems to perform abortions against their beliefs.

According to the complaint: “If a doctor concludes that a hysterectomy ‘is medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria,’ the patient’s employer or insurance plan would be required to cover the procedure on the same basis that it would cover it for other conditions (like cancer)."

HHS also stated that the "range of transition-related services, which includes treatment for gender dysphoria, is not limited to surgical treatments and may include, but is not limited to, services such as hormone therapy and psychotherapy, which may occur over the lifetime of the individual.”

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State of Texas U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

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