Defending the 2019
HHS Conscience Rule
Regina Frost, MD
Member, Christian Medical Association
Dr. Regina Frost has practiced medicine for 15 years, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. She helps lead a network of female healthcare professionals called Women Physicians in Christ, a ministry of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) that is committed to supporting women physicians and dentists by integrating their personal, spiritual, and professional lives.
CMDA is an organization of over 19,000 healthcare professionals, including Dr. Frost, who are committed to living out their faith in their practice of medicine. CMDA members serve everyone and seek to treat all of their patients like Christ would, providing all with compassionate care, healing, and hope. CMDA medical professionals take an oath to do no harm and would never deny routine or life-saving care to anyone.
Religious healthcare professionals care for all patients and are consistently on the front lines serving the most vulnerable members of our society, including under-served poor and migrant communities; victims of gang violence, sex trafficking, opioid addiction, and deadly epidemics and prisoners living with HIV. In May 2019, HHS released a new Conscience Rule allowing religious healthcare professionals to continue their important work without having to perform certain procedures which would be inconsistent with their beliefs.
But several states, including the state of New York, are now suing to block this rule and force Dr. Frost and others to either violate their conscience or end their practice. Becket is defending medical conscience rights for religious healthcare professionals nationwide so that they can continue their ministry providing compassionate care across the globe.
On June 25, 2019, Becket intervened to defend Dr. Regina Frost and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations from New York’s lawsuit, arguing that healthcare professionals should not be forced to perform medical procedures that would require them to violate their beliefs. The Conscience Rule reaffirms what the First Amendment and dozens of federal statutes already guarantee: religious Americans—including doctors—do not have to compromise their faith to serve those in need.
Religious freedom protects the rights of individuals to live out their faith in all facets of their lives—including in their professions. This lawsuit threatens the ability of religious healthcare professionals to provide quality, compassionate healthcare, forcing them to choose between their conscience and their practice.
Read more at Becket...
CMA legal brief filed April 27, 2020 in conscience protection ruling appeal
CMA news release - Members of Congress support our case
Amicus brief by Members of Congress
CMA news release - 2019 conscience rule court decision
CMA / Freedom2Care lawsuit
HHS conscience rule
Restoring Medical Judgment and Conscience on Gender Issues
Case: Franciscan Alliance v. Azar
Represented by: Becket
Case Start Date: August 23, 2016
Decision: October 15, 2019; pending in Fifth Circuit
Deciding Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Original Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
A federal mandate issued in 2016 required doctors to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, including a child, even if the doctor believed the procedure would be harmful. That rule was struck down in court after it was challenged by nine states, several religious organizations, and an association of over 19,000 healthcare professionals. In May 2019, HHS proposed bringing its regulations into compliance with those decisions and ensuring that the personal decision to undergo gender transition procedures is kept between patients and their doctors, free from government interference.
On May 24, 2019, HHS proposed a new rule that follows a court ruling, complies with accepted medical research and protects both the medical judgment of the doctor and the unique, individual needs of the patient.
On October 15, 2019, a federal judge confirmed his earlier ruling that the government's 2016 HHS mandate is unlawful, ensuring that doctors can continue practicing in their field of medicine without being forced to perform procedures that violate their faith.
On September 21, 2020, Becket filed our opening brief before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for a final ruling to make sure any future HHS rules comply with the law and respect the rights of medical practitioners.
Read more about the decision.
Read more about the transgender mandate.