CHCLA Strongly Opposes HHS’ Proposed Rule that Threatens Medical Conscience Rights and Causes Patients Harm

For Immediate Release
August 04, 2022

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Ormond Beach, FL – Today, a proposed rule under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act was published in the Federal Register, which redefines sex discrimination in health programs and activities funded by HHS to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and “pregnancy or related conditions,” including abortion. The rule was first announced on July 25 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If the proposed rule is finalized, this change would force hospitals, doctors, clinics, and other health care professionals to provide harmful medical interventions and to perform mutilating transgender surgeries on both adults and children against their best ethical and medical judgments and for insurance companies to pay for such surgeries or be considered discriminatory for refusal to do so under its new definition of sex discrimination. It leaves up to HHS to make a determination if any entities are exempt from this requirement, thus weakening wholesale enforcement of conscience protection laws.

Dr. Steven White, President of the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance (CHCLA) and former president of the Catholic Medical Association, released the following statement:

“This proposed regulation is a terrible affront to the rights of doctors and other health care professionals to practice medicine according to their conscience. Catholic hospitals and Catholic health care professionals are bound to follow the long-standing tradition of the healing ministry of Jesus Christ and His Church, providing life-affirming care from conception to natural death and upholding the dignity of the human person made in the image of God as male and female. Sex-change interventions mutilate perfectly functioning organs and are harmful to the physical and psychological well-being of our patients. Medical professionals and health care entities face the potential for abortion coercion. Doctors must never be forced to participate against their conscience and harm individuals.”

CHCLA signed onto a letter that was sent to HHS on March 11 requesting that HHS meet with diverse coalitions to share their concerns about the anticipated gender identity rule and also met with HHS leaders on April 8 to express their concerns about this rule.

Today marks the beginning of the 60-day public comment period and it will end on October 3, 2022. CHCLA and its affiliated organizations will be submitting public comments in response to these harmful provisions in the proposed rule, and any member of the public may also do so here.

Additionally, CHCLA encourages those who believe that their conscience rights have been violated to file a complaint with the HHS Office for Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For more information, click here.

If you would like to set up an interview with Dr. Steven White of CHCLA, please contact


About the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance

The Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance is an alliance of faithful Catholic organizations that supports the rights of patients and professionals to receive and provide health care in accordance with the moral, ethical, and social teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church through ongoing evangelization, education, advocacy, and mutual support. For more information, please visit