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 | Chieko Noguchi | USCCB

Health Care that Truly Heals Must be Grounded in Truth, says Bishop Rhoades

“Health care that truly heals must be grounded in truth,” said Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, responding to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) issuance of final regulations implementing the nondiscrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act, known as Section 1557.

By including “sexual orientation and gender identity” in the definition of “sex,” the final regulations generally require health care workers to perform “gender transition” procedures in the name of nondiscrimination. At the same time, the regulations make modest improvements to the proposed regulations’ protections for the exercise of conscience, religious belief, and clinical judgment.

Speaking as chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), he added:

“The human right to health care flows from the sanctity of human life and the dignity that belongs to all human persons, who are made in the image of God. The same core beliefs about human dignity and the wisdom of God’s design that motivate Catholics to care for the sick also shape our convictions about care for preborn children and the immutable nature of the human person. These commitments are inseparable.

“We appreciate that the final rule does not attempt to impose a mandate with regard to abortion. These regulations, however, advance an ideological view of sex that, as the Holy See has noted, denies the most beautiful and most powerful difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference. I pray that health care workers will embrace the truth about the human person, a truth reflected in Catholic teaching, and that HHS will not substitute its judgment for their own. 

The USSCB submitted comments on the proposed regulations issued by HHS in 2022, and the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty highlighted the regulations as a major threat to religious liberty in its annual report issued in January.