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FIRST ON FOX: Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is suing the Biden administration over its new “radical mandate” that requires healthcare providers to perform transgender surgical procedures – including on children – while forcing states to pay for them.

“Joe Biden is once again exceeding his legal authority in order to force his radical transgender ideology onto the American people. His Administration is threatening to hold federal funding hostage from any healthcare provider that refuses to perform or affirm harmful and irreversible transgender procedures,” Bailey said in a statement first obtained by Fox News Digital. 

Bailey said he is filing suit alongside the American College of Pediatricians and the attorneys general of Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah to prevent “out-of-touch federal bureaucrats forcing Missouri healthcare providers into performing experimental gender transition procedures,” on taxpayer dollars. 

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inclusive bathroom sign, inset, with rainbow pride flag, classroom photo illustration in background

The Biden administration’s new mandate requires healthcare providers to perform transgender surgical procedures – including on children – while forcing states to pay for them. (Fox News Digital)

“Doctors should not be compelled to harm children,” the lawsuit states.

In April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated a rule in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that codifies nondiscrimination “on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities.” The protection extends to healthcare programs or services that receive federal funding.

The newly finalized Section 1557 also redefines “on the basis of sex” to include “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.”

“We clarify that a Nondiscrimination Policy’s prohibition of sex discrimination encompasses protections afforded for various types of sex discrimination such as pregnancy, including termination of pregnancy or related conditions, and we have revised the parenthetical in § 92.8(b) to explain that this provision’s reference to sex discrimination is consistent with the various types of sex discrimination described at § 92.101(a)(2), which includes ‘gender identity,’” the rule states

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Transgender pride flag

The newly finalized Section 1557 also redefines “on the basis of sex” to include “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.” (ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images)

The lawsuit alleges the rule “threatens to punish doctors and States who do not comply with the mandate by imposing huge financial penalties and excluding them from federally funded healthcare programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”

“This punishment would effectively preclude doctors and States from providing healthcare for the most vulnerable children in low-income communities,” the lawsuit reads.

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Missouri AG Andrew Bailey

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey looks on during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. (Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The new rule claims to enforce the ban on sex discrimination in ACA Section 1557, but neither that statute nor its precursor, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, mandates gender-transition procedures, Bailey argues.

The lawsuit also argues the new rule violates the ACA and Administrative Procedure Act and undermines freedom of speech. Moreover, neither the rule nor the ACA provided clear notice or agreement from states and healthcare providers regarding funding or provision of gender-transition treatments through federal insurance programs.

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The lawsuit comes as more conservative states are enacting laws that severely restrict both surgical and nonsurgical transgender procedures for minors. Additionally, states like Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Alabama and Florida have taken it a step further by making it a felony to give minors any gender-transition prescriptions or perform surgical procedures, such as sex changes. 

Meanwhile, several states have created “shield laws” that protect these procedures and gender-transition prescriptions for transgender people, including California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, Vermont, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the HHS for comment.

Fox News Digital’s Kendall Tietz contributed to this report. 

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