Friday, January 06, 2017
Court Strikes Down Transgender Mandate, Protecting Doctors, Children, and Hospitals
While family and friends were counting down to the new year, I was watching a different kind of countdown—whether doctors and health care providers would be forced to violate their medical judgment and provide procedures, including gender transition services and abortions, under a new government mandate.
The mandate is a 362-page regulation that claims to interpret part of the Affordable Care Act. It was issued in May 2016, and major portions of this mandate would have kicked in on Jan. 1.
Becket Law had asked a Texas court for an order protecting health care providers. It was less than nine hours to midnight when we heard the good news: A Texas court issued an injunction protecting doctors and the families they serve from the mandate.
The court ruling came after eight states, an association of almost 18,000 doctors, and a Catholic hospital system challenged a new federal regulation that requires doctors to perform gender transition procedures on children, even if the doctor believes the treatment could harm the child.
Doctors who followed the Hippocratic oath—the historic medical vow that doctors take to act in the best interest of their patients—would have faced severe consequences, including losing their jobs.
This is a commonsense ruling. The government has no business forcing private doctors to perform procedures on children that the government itself recognizes can be harmful and exempts its own doctors from performing. The ruling ensures that doctors’ best medical judgment will not be replaced with political agendas and bureaucratic interference.
The federal regulation applied to over 900,000 doctors—nearly every doctor in the U.S.—and would have cost health care providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion.
The government itself does not require its own military doctors to perform these procedures. It also does not require coverage of gender transition procedures in Medicare or Medicaid—even for adults—because the government medical experts that oversee those programs did not believe medical research demonstrates that gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes, with some studies demonstrating that these procedures were in fact harmful.
But under the Department of Health and Human Services rule developed by political appointees, doctors citing the same evidence and using their best medical judgment in an individual case would have faced potential lawsuits or job loss.
A website about this court case provides leading research on the issue, including guidance the government itself relies on. This research shows that up to 94 percent of children with gender dysphoria will grow out of their dysphoria naturally and live healthy lives without the need for surgery or lifelong hormone regimens.
The government desperately wanted to avoid a court ruling on these facts, telling the Texas court that no injunction was needed. Instead, doctors should wait around to see if they got sued and then see whether the government would agree, based on the circumstances, that they were entitled to protection.
That argument was pretty rich coming from the Department of Health and Human Services, which has spent the last five years fighting lawsuits to limit conscience protections for groups like the Green family, who own Hobby Lobby, and the Little Sisters of the Poor.
In those cases and others, the government has been quick to argue for strict limits on protections like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Church Amendment, which protects providers from having to perform abortions.
Never did the government claim that rulings on the contraceptive mandate should wait until someone brought a lawsuit and the government had time to weigh the issues and pick a side. The court didn’t buy that excuse, instead recognizing that the mandate would create immediate and irreparable harm to doctors nationwide.
This ruling is an across-the-board victory that will ensure that the deeply personal medical decision of a gender transition procedure remains between families and their doctors.
This case was brought jointly by Becket Law—which defended Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations—and by the Texas attorney general and the states of Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Arizona, and Mississippi.
The rot has spread to Australia: Transgender students to choose their own toilets, uniforms and sleep alongside students of their chosen sex in new public school policy
Transgender school students will soon be able to use their preferred names, wear the uniform and use the toilets of their choice.
An Education Department policy has outlined how transgender students should be treated in South Australia.
They will also be able to sleep alongside students of the gender they identify with on school camps.
The department says the policy will ensure 'consistent' treatment of transgender pupils by school leaders.
'The difference is that this clearly articulates what we require from schools,' executive director of statewide services and child development Ann-Marie Hayes told The Advertiser.
'We had a number of queries from schools and parents, and we needed to make it very clear what our legislative requirements were and how schools enact them - supporting principals in particular but also families in what they can expect from schools.'
Hayes also defended the policy and said it could not be taken advantage of and that a boy could not pretend to be transgender in order to sleep in the same area as girls on a school camp.
Hayes also felt that the policy is one of tolerance and would send an important message to other students that transgender children are not to be bullied.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Education Department for comment.
State Lawmakers Seek to Stop New York City From Destroying immigrant ID Records
A judge is expected to rule soon on whether New York City can destroy records associated with an identification program commonly used by illegal immigrants who lack Social Security cards or driver’s licenses.
Earlier this month, Ron Castorina Jr. and Nicole Malliotakis, Republican members of the New York State Assembly from Long Island, filed a lawsuit contesting a provision of the identification program that says the city as of Dec. 31 can destroy records, including the personal information of applicants.
City Council member Carlos Menchaca, a Democrat representing Brooklyn, co-sponsored legislation creating the city’s identification program nearly two years ago. Menchaca said the measure calling for destroying data was intended to protect illegal immigrant applicants in case a future Republican president tried to access their personal information for immigration enforcement.
Menchaca told the New York Post the clause was included “in case a Tea Party Republican comes into office and says, ‘We want all of the data from all of the municipal ID programs in the country,’ we’re going to take the data.”
Since Donald Trump’s election as president, immigration advocacy groups and the city’s Democratic leadership have expressed concern that the new administration could try to pursue information from the ID program to fulfill its goal to increase deportations.
“The fear is that the Trump administration has made a lot of threats [about] deporting immigrants and they could use this data against immigrant communities,” Thanu Yakupitiyage, senior communications manager of the New York Immigration Coalition, a group that promotes policies that benefit immigrants, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
Castorina and Malliotakis, in interviews with The Daily Signal, said security issues drive their concern about the prospect that the city will destroy documents associated with the identification program, known as IDNYC.
“Our lawsuit has nothing to do with immigration,” said Malliotakis, who is a daughter of Cuban and Greek immigrants.
Castorina and Malliotakis, the only two Republican members of the New York State Assembly who represent the city, did not vote on the IDNYC program because the City Council created it.
But the two lawmakers represent 300,000 New York City constituents between them, and they said they followed the program’s implementation closely. They became alarmed in September when New York state’s banking superintendent issued a directive encouraging all state-licensed banks and credit unions to accept identification administered through IDNYC.
Malliotakis said she worries that someone with “nefarious intent” could use the municipal identification, which is easy to qualify for, to open a bank account to “finance terror or engage in fraud.”
If the city destroys records associated with the program, she says, it would make it more difficult for law enforcement to investigate potential criminal cases.
“This lawsuit is about the safety and security of the people of New York City and our nation, and maintaining transparency and the rule of law in government,” Malliotakis told The Daily Signal. “That’s what it’s about. Everything else is a side issue that is not directly related to why we are seeking to preserve the documents.”
Earlier this month, in the first arguments of the lawsuit, Justice Philip G. Minardo of State Supreme Court on Staten Island delayed the impending Dec. 31 destruction of documents until a full hearing is convened in the first week of January.
Minardo requested that Mayor Bill de Blasio or City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito—both Democrats—be present at the hearing.
“I don’t want to order the mayor or the council speaker to be here, but it would be helpful,” Minardo said, issuing an unusual request that reflects the weight of the challenge before him.
In January 2015, New York City introduced IDNYC as the country’s largest municipal identification program to help those who struggle to obtain government-issued identification, including illegal immigrants, the homeless, and victims of domestic violence.
Applicants must provide their name, address, and proof that they live in the city’s five boroughs, among other personal data.
The program does not ask applicants to reveal immigration status.
“IDNYC was advertised to New Yorkers as a badge of being a New Yorker, that you could get it regardless of immigration status,” Yakupitiyage, of the immigration coalition, said. “We were told this card is safe and the program ensures confidentiality.”
To obtain a card, an applicant can use a valid foreign passport or consular identification, along with a utility bill that verifies a city address. An expired foreign passport is acceptable for up to three years, in some cases.
Proof of residency in a homeless shelter for 15 days also can be a form of identification.
The New York Police Department accepts the municipal cards as a means of identification. They also can be used to enter public schools and libraries, and to get free admission to the city’s zoos and museums.
Roughly 1 million people have applied for the IDs. It’s unknown how many beneficiaries are immigrants living in the city illegally.
The law that created the program states that the city would keep records for two years of the documents applicants used to apply, and make them available only through a judicial subpoena.
Malliotakis said only seven cardholders have had their records requested through a subpoena.
The New York Times reported that 92 applications for IDs have been flagged as highly likely to be fraudulent, and the city has denied 7,130 applications because of insufficient proof of identity.
Castorina and Malliotakis say applicants’ records should be kept for the five years that an IDNYC card is valid, and that data should be made accessible under the state’s freedom of information law.
Lawyers for the city argue that law does not cover the release of private data, such as the personal information used to obtain one of the city ID cards.
Before pursuing the lawsuit, Castorina and Malliotakis filed a freedom of information request in November to get the records for all IDNYC beneficiaries. The city denied the request.
“We were not looking to engage in litigation,” Castorina told The Daily Signal.
Castorina says he supports the IDNYC program, and contends that it “fulfills a worthy purpose” by giving opportunities to vulnerable people, including illegal immigrants.
In the interview with The Daily Signal, he acknowledged, unprompted, that he backs providing a path to citizenship for immigrants now living in the country illegally.
Yet, through the litigation process, Castorina says, he has grown frustrated with New York City’s Democratic leaders, including de Blasio and Mark-Viverito. He accuses them of politicizing the municipal identification program and its clause allowing for destruction of data.
“To say this is the list that the federal government wants and will use to deport people is just complete political hyperbole,” Castorina told The Daily Signal, adding:
This is just politicizing the unfortunate situation of undocumented people, and it’s being done at their expense by instilling fear in their hearts and minds. And it’s also creating the prospect of a major security risk.
Australia: Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies is calling for a mandatory life sentence for anyone convicted of killing an infant
Having taken a whole life away, the killers should have their life taken away too. Hang them
MANDATORY life sentences for child killers have been urged by the state’s top victims’ advocate.
The deaths of nine children in 2016 have prompted Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies to call for the life terms for anyone convicted of killing an infant.
"They’ve lost 90 years of their lives, what will these offenders lose? Twenty-odd years of their liberty? That to me doesn’t say we value human life," Mr Davies said.
"If someone murders an infant, no one cares about their circumstances, no one cares about their prospects of rehabilitation and that they’re unlikely to do it again, they’ve surely lost their right to a second chance. These mongrels deserve life."
Executive chair and the founder Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston, said she supported Mr Davies’ views on mandatory sentencing for child killers. "He’s not going to get any argument from me," she said.
"The judiciary will baulk at it, saying every case has its own merits, but I support it.
"Anyone that would kill a child, whether they are criminally liable or mentally incapacitated, has no place in a society where there’s children. It’s just too dangerous."
Shadow attorney-general John Pesutto said the Opposition had also been reviewing Victoria’s sentencing.
"The Liberal-Nationals have been calling for urgent changes that will deliver stronger sentences for serious crimes like murder, but (Premier) Daniel Andrews has refused to do anything about it," he said.
"Child murder is horrific and the Victims of Crime Commissioner is to be congratulated for proposing solutions while the government has completely failed to put victims first."
Life sentencing for child killers has long been urged by those families left behind.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.