The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) joined the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and eight other faith-based groups last week in joint comments to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The comments respond to proposed rules on non-discrimination in health programs and activities, pointing to a number of areas in which the proposed regulations go beyond OCR’s statutory authority and imposing requirements not approved by Congress.
The comments address five main areas of concern, including:
- Language that may be interpreted — contrary to explicit statutory assurances — to require provision of, referral for, or coverage of abortion;
- Reinterpretation of discrimination “on the basis of sex” to require protection of nontraditional gender identities, expanding the scope of non-discrimination language beyond legal precedent and congressional intent;
- Provision of gender transition services, which are not health care and may be harmful to some patients;
- An overly broad and unworkable interpretation of sex stereotypes; and
- Failure to maintain the existing exemption for religious organizations for Title IX, a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program.
“We are grateful that our system of government offers the right and opportunity to provide input to government administrators on proposed regulations,” said Galen Carey, NAE vice president for government relations. “We hope that the Office of Civil Rights carefully considers our recommendations and issues final regulations that are both lawful and wise, and in the best interest of all Americans.”
A copy of the comments is posted at NAE.net.