by WorldTribune Staff, June 17, 2020
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has said it will define sex as determined by biology — male and female.
The Obama administration had defined sex as “one’s internal sense of gender.”
HHS announced it has finalized a rule under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act that restores the traditional definition and revokes the re-definition implemented under President Barack Obama.
The return to the traditional definition was a campaign promise made by President Donald Trump.
“We are restoring respect to the rule of law,” Roger Severino, the director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS, told RealClearPolitics.
Severino said that Obama’s definition had created “extraordinary confusion in the science and medical fields.”
“If there’s any agency where the biological understanding of sex matters, it would be HHS,” Severino said. “We’ve done so much work in the field of medicine and science, where sex is considered a biological variable.”
The administration believes the courts will rule on its side.
Related: Supreme Court ruling redefines what was meant by sex in 1964, June 16, 2020
Severino said the move will in no way affect how HHS “respects the dignity of every human being.”
“As we have shown in our response to the pandemic, we vigorously protect and enforce the civil rights of all to the fullest extent permitted by our laws as passed by Congress. We are unwavering in our commitment to enforcing civil rights in health care,” he added.
The Trump administration said the decision will not harm the rights of those who identify their sex as different than male or female. The return to the traditional definition, instead, Severino said, makes clear that biological sex and gender are different.
“To conflate the two is a mistake, both as a matter of law, but also leads to all sorts of confusion that could lead to tragic consequences,” he added.
Severino pointed to a case documented in the New England Journal of Medicine. A man arrived at a hospital experiencing severe abdominal pains. Nurses did not consider the case an emergency, until they realized that the patient was pregnant. He was a transgender man in labor. The pregnancy ended in a stillbirth.
“Treating sex as a biological reality or not,” Severino added, “can make a tremendous difference to health outcomes.”