Rep. Hice to Newsmax: HHS Gender Surgery Rule Violates Religious Freedom Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 02 August 2022 09:23 AM EDT
A Health and Human Services rule that would allow doctors to be punished for refusing to perform gender transition surgeries is "an outright attack on religious liberties," Rep. Jody Hice said on Newsmax on Tuesday.
"This is an attack on our constitutionally protected religious freedoms," the Georgia Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "If there is one thing that is of utmost importance in this country, it is that you have the right to believe what you want to believe and to practice those beliefs without government interference."
But the Biden administration, said Hice, is "making every attempt in the world to strip away those religious protections and force individuals and hospitals to conform to their radical ideology.
"This is an outright attack on religious liberties, and so it goes beyond just a political battle. This is, in fact, a government intrusion on the most basic of our constitutionally protected rights."
The Becket Fund for Religious Freedom will be in court Thursday to fight against the HHS on claims that a ruling against a similar move by the Obama administration should still stand. The group back in 2016 secured a preliminary injunction against the ruling, claiming it violated religious freedom laws, reports The National Review. That decision was confirmed in 2019 and became permanent in 2021.
The Biden administration's theory is that the Affordable Care Act allows it "to punish groups that don't perform gender transitions and abortions," Becket attorney Luke Goodrich told the publication.
Hice warned on Newsmax that if Becket loses, "this is going to mean an outright open season attacking religious liberties. That is the bottom line of what's at stake here. I am so hopeful that the Becket Fund is going to be successful in this."
Becket won its case in 2016, but now the Biden administration is saying that its HHS rule is a different case that requires a different ruling, said Hice.
"It is as though the Biden administration is totally in disregard of previous decisions by the courts," said Hice. "It's just a perpetual battle against religious liberty."
Hice also commented on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's stop Tuesday in Taiwan, being made despite threats from China, and said he thinks she made the correct decision.
"We cannot be intimidated by China," he said. "We have got to continue moving forward on this … if we start caving to China over a simple visit, then who knows what will take place from there, but we all certainly are keeping a very close watch on this and the response that China will have."
President Joe Biden said in July he did not agree that Pelosi should go to Taiwan, and Hice slammed him for not being "fully capable of leading."
He also accused Biden and his family of being "compromised" with China.
"That raises all sorts of questions in why he continually seems to protect China and work in the best interest of China at times rather than the best interest of our own country," said Hice. "We cannot start caving to China. We've got to start standing up.
"President Trump did a phenomenal job with that when he was in the White House. He took leadership, which is precisely what we need now."