New Title IX Rules Threaten Human Rights
Conservative activists are warning that the Biden administration has introduced radical rule changes to Title IX and the Affordable Care Act that would eradicate sex differentiation, normalize abortion, and undermine the conscience rights of health care workers.
Title IX is a 1972 federal civil rights law that bans discrimination in schools or other education programs based upon sex. The original law was just 37 words long. But since then, the regulations surrounding the law have metastasized. Now, the Biden administration has proposed a revision of the rules that runs a staggering 700 pages.
Conservative analysts are warning about a bevy of problematic proposals, not least that the rules refuse to define the term “sex” (which seems rather important for regulations supposedly banning discrimination based upon “sex”!). Instead, the rules expand the definition of “sex discrimination” to include such things as, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex stereotypes (i.e., “fixed or generalized expectations regarding a person’s aptitudes, behavior, self-presentation, or other attributes based on sex”), and sex characteristics.
This vague new language, in other words, would take a law originally designed to protect women from being victims of discrimination based upon their sex, and redefine “sex discrimination” so that it’s impossible even to determine what a woman is! Such is the muddy-headedness of the new sexual revolutionaries.
In addition, pro-life activists are warning that the new Title IX regulations include language that is designed to normalize abortion. Furthermore, as I discuss below, parallel regulations put forward by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) are a direct attack on conscience rights for health workers and hospitals in relation to “sex-change” procedures and abortions.
New Rules Normalize Abortion
Over at The Daily Signal, policy analyst Melanie Israel warns, “What is the Biden administration trying to accomplish? Nothing less than the redefinition of sex—and of pregnancy itself.”
As Israel notes, there are two troubling aspects in the new rules with respect to pregnancy and abortion.
Firstly, the new rules change the definition of “pregnancy” to include abortion! Whereas previous iterations of the rules were already problematic in that they included abortion as an issue that falls under “sex discrimination,” the new rules make abortion equivalent to pregnancy!
As Israel notes: “It’s a distinction that makes all the difference. The new definition would treat abortion as morally equal to pregnancy, childbearing, and lactation.”
She adds, “This is absurd. Pregnancy is a natural process. A new life begins at the moment of conception. This human being is just that—a human being—at every stage of development. … Abortion, in contrast, is the intentional, direct destruction of preborn human life. It kills the preborn baby and halts the natural process of pregnancy.”
In the second place, she notes, the new regulations include a so-called “abortion neutrality” provision. That provision states that the new regulations neither “require or prohibit any person, or public or private entity, to provide or pay for any benefit or service, including the use of facilities, related to an abortion.”
At first glance, this may sound non-threatening. However, the problem is that abortion law has changed dramatically in the last few months. With the repeal of Roe v. Wade abortion is no longer legally considered a “constitutional right.” Because of this, states are now permitted to prohibit abortion in law.
By making schools a “neutral” zone in federal law, Title IX will leave open the option for schools to promote abortion to their students. As Israel explains, “This could take the form of connecting students with abortion clinics, not disclosing a pregnancy or abortion to a minor’s parents, paying for abortion travel, or promoting dangerous abortion pills.”
However, the proposed Title IX language does not address cases in which there is a conflict between the federal Title IX and state-level pro-life laws. Title IX in this case advocates a permissive approach to abortion that will not match the reality in many pro-life states, in which most or all abortions are illegal.
Healthcare Conscience Rights Threatened
Meanwhile, over at National Review, analyst Rachel Morrison warns that the new regulations would have “dire” consequences for the healthcare profession. As Morrison notes, there is a section of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act (section 1557) that bans “sex discrimination.” However, it does so by appealing to the Title IX rules on “sex discrimination.” That is, whatever Title IX recognizes as sex discrimination in education settings, is what the Affordable Care Act recognizes as sex discrimination in healthcare settings.
However, as noted above, the new Title IX regulations would significantly expand the definition of “sex discrimination” to include discrimination based upon “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.”
In fact, as Morrison notes, the HHS has recently proposed new regulations that mirror the Biden administration’s proposed Title IX regulations on sex discrimination. These proposed regulations would make it illegal to “deny or limit health services sought for purposes of gender transition or other gender-affirming care that the covered entity would provide to an individual for other purposes if the denial or limitation is based on a patient’s sex assigned at birth, gender identity, or gender otherwise recorded.”
As Morrison explains, these regulations mean that “doctors and hospitals would be required to provide patients, including children, with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender transition surgeries. And insurance providers would be required to cover these expensive drugs and procedures.”
This is deeply pernicious stuff.
In theory, of course, the HHS is still bound to respect federal conscience-rights laws. However, what’s clear is that the Biden administration’s HHS is consciously pursuing an extremist agenda on abortion and gender. If the HHS can undermine conscience rights, we can expect that they will. Even if doctors and hospitals opposed to transgender procedures or abortion can appeal to federal conscience regulations, these new Title IX and HHS regulations are turning up the heat, pushing federal law towards enthusiastic support for radical gender identity and abortion.
Bishops Express Concern
In response to the draft Title IX regulations, three leading U.S. bishops issued a joint statement, expressing their alarm.
The three were Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty; Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education.
“The 701-page proposed rule issued last week contains many provisions of concern to the Church and her ministries, to the faithful and the common good,” the three bishops noted. “The full meaning and impact of these provisions is not entirely clear and will require more careful study.”
However, they added:
[E]ven at this early stage, it is apparent that the rule’s provisions on discrimination based on ‘pregnancy or related conditions,’ which include ‘termination of pregnancy,’ are intended to have implications for abortion, and therefore, life in the womb. And by adding self-asserted ‘gender identity’ to the prohibition against sex discrimination, the rule may foreshadow a threat to women’s athletics, sex-separate spaces, and the right of students, parents, and teachers to speak the truth about the nature of the human person.
“It is a sad irony,” they concluded, “that these rules could effectively erase women and girls from the very law meant to serve them.”
Women’s Rights in Jeopardy
Indeed, as a growing number of thinkers are increasingly pointing out, the bizarre thing about the direction that the sexual revolution has taken, particularly in recent years, is that in the name of “protecting” women, the sexual revolutionaries are either, a) reducing women to objects to be used by men for their own pleasure, or b) erasing women altogether.
As the author Louise Perry points out in her recent book The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, the practical effect of the complete eradication of traditional sexual norms has been to telegraph to men that they no longer need to follow that “old-fashioned” advice about restraining their appetites and channelling them towards marriage and creating a family. “Free love” has, in practice, simply meant that men have felt freer to use women for their own pleasure, while women’s desires for fidelity, respect, love, and family have been treated as unimportant.
However, things have taken a bizarre turn in recent years, with the gender ideologues promoting the eradication of sex differences as somehow contributing to fighting “sex discrimination.” The practical consequence has been the astonishingly swift conquest of women-only spaces and sports by men, and a staggering increase in young girls being taught to hate their bodies and to mutilate them to become the similitude of men’s bodies by removing healthy breasts and reproductive organs.
This hardly looks like the dream of “gender equality” envisioned by the first generation of feminists, many of whom were pro-life and pro-family, but who simply wanted women to be treated equally.
In August, a group of protestors opposed to the Title IX changes noted that the rule changes mean that men will continue to invade women-only spaces and sports, with the full support of the federal government. “This means the case for women’s sports is already closed,” said Heritage Foundation legal scholar Sarah Parshall Perry at the August rally. “Biological males—with denser bones, greater lung capacities, faster muscle twitch, wider wingspan, and higher muscle mass—will take from women the athletic opportunities Title IX was passed to protect.”
A bitter irony indeed.
Urgent: Comment on New HHS Rules
It is important to note that both the proposed Title IX and HHS regulations are not yet finalized. However, while the deadline to comment on the Title IX regulations has passed, there is still time for the public to make their opinions about the HHS regulations known. To comment on the HHS regulations click here. The deadline for comments is Monday, October 3.
It is particularly important that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers and agencies make their views known. It is your conscience rights that are on the line. The Biden administration needs to know that you will not tolerate the hijacking of healthcare to promote a radical social agenda that harms and kills patients.
Father Shenan J. Boquet was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI as its President in August 2011. Father Boquet earned a BA from Saint Joseph Seminary College, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology, a Certification Program in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and a Master of Science in Bioethics (MSBe) from the University of Mary in Bismarck. In 2018, Father Boquet was awarded an honorary visiting professorship by the Benedict XVI Catholic University in Trujillo, Peru. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing email@example.com.
“metastasized” and “muddy-headedness” Great use of words!
Perhaps the word ‘sex’ could and should be replaced with ‘gender’. A bias, restriction or privilege based on gender
assignment or designation would remain unequivocally in arguable.
Sex should never have been allowed to dress in blackface as it did in the 1964 Civil rights act. The jobs it gave to black men were simultaneously taken away from them by two career couples, upheaving the notion of the living wage and opening wide the gates of abortion. Feminists then gave piggy back rides to weirder sex categories playing blackface, leaving the black male provider in the dust.