Behind the Poll:

Feds coy on whether they’ll punish nuns for not providing ‘gender transition procedures’

The Biden administration says it’s agnostic on whether Obamacare requires Catholic healthcare providers and insurers to provide and cover so-called “gender transition” procedures, so they can’t sue to block enforcement.

The providers and insurers don’t buy it — and fear ruinous federal penalties if they refuse treatment such as breast removal and testosterone supplements for minor girls who identify as boys.

Those were the arguments heard Wednesday by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as it reviews a trial court ruling that invoked the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to protect religious entities from having to provide transition procedures.

At issue is how the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) interpret Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination by gender identity, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in relation to RFRA.

The Becket religious liberty law firm, representing the non-insurer plaintiffs, argues that the government’s equivocation is belied by its refusal to cover gender transition procedures in Medicare and Medicaid.