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Why Federal Judges Matter

Man prepares to have penis removed and vagina created. If you're a doctor and don't want to be part of this, you don't have to, says federal judge (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)

Big victory for religious liberty today:

A federal court in Texas ruled Tuesday that doctors across the nation are not required to perform gender-transition surgeries if they go against their medical judgment or religious beliefs.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor reversed a mandate from the Obama administration that required a doctor to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, including a child, even if the doctor believed the procedure could harm the patient, or otherwise face penalties and legal action.

In December 2016, six months after the mandate was issued, two different federal courts ruled the policy was an unlawful overreach by a federal agency and likely a violation of religious liberty. The rulings were in response to two lawsuits against the “transgender mandate” filed by an association of over 19,000 health care professionals, nine states, and several religious organizations.

Luke Goodrich of Becket Law, which represented the victors, said:

“It is critically important that doctors are able to continue serving patients in keeping with their consciences and their professional medical judgment, especially when it comes to the personal health choices of families and children. Doctors cannot do their jobs if government bureaucrats are trying to force them to perform potentially harmful procedures that violate their medical and moral judgment.”

Think about it: the Obama administration tried to force doctors to cut the breasts off of teenage girls, and the penises off of teenage boys, or lose their licenses. What a monstrous act! Judge O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, has overturned that order.

This is a good reminder of why federal judges matter — especially given that the Democrats are willing to use the power of the state to institutionalize the Sexual Revolution. Note that Judge O’Connor does not forbid doctors from performing these surgeries. He only stops the federal government from compelling doctors to perform them. This is the kind of tyranny that the Democrats will press on us if given the chance — and from which the federal courts can protect us.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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