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Mississippi AG spearheads lawsuit against federal LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination rule

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Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch is spearheading a lawsuit against a federal rule she says would require medical providers to either perform gender-affirming care on minors or risk hefty penalties.

Fitch, joined by Tennessee AG Jonathan Skrmetti, launched the multi-state litigation challenging the regulation recently promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that bars discrimination against somebody due to their gender identity.

The attorneys general argue that the federal rule would jeopardize physicians in states with laws outlawing those who practice medicine from administering treatments to youth seeking to transition to another gender. According to the lawsuit, medical entities not in compliance with the new directive would risk losing billions of dollars in both federal and state Medicaid funding.

“Injecting gender identity into our state’s medical system is a dangerous pursuit of a political agenda from the Biden Administration. Under this new rule, doctors and medical providers are forced to perform surgeries and provide gender transition care, ignoring medical judgment completely,” Fitch said. “I am proud to stand with Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti in pushing back on this reckless rule.”

Additionally, the state officials contend that the rule would require medical providers to allow patients into spaces based on their gender identity rather than their biological sex. This means that a transgender individual identifying as a woman would be allowed into women’s spaces. Healthcare workers would also be tasked with using gender-affirming pronouns, per the lawsuit.

Federal officials, on the other hand, believe the ruling by the HHS advances the rights and protections of LGBTQ+ individuals pursuing healthcare without discrimination.

Mississippi enacted the Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures Act last year, prohibiting a person from knowingly providing gender transition procedures to any person under 18 years of age. The law also outlaws the aiding or abetting of the performance or inducement of gender transition procedures to minors.

A similar federal proposal was levied in 2016 under the guidance of former President Barack Obama. That rule was struck down by federal courts and deemed unlawful. Republican leadership in states opposing the current rule are optimistic about a repeat of what took place eight years ago.

Mississippi and Tennessee are joined in the lawsuit by fellow GOP-led states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia. The full brief can be found here.

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