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Neese v. Becerra

Description:  A Biden administration mandate forces doctors to perform harmful medical procedures that seek to alter a patient’s biological sex even if the procedure violates the doctors’ medical judgment or religious beliefs. That mandate depends on Title IX, a federal statute that the administration is also interpreting to require women to compete against men on women’s sports teams.

Chelsea Mitchell, an All-American long jumper who won numerous state championships in sprinting and jumping events
Monday, Jun 5, 2023

NEW ORLEANS – On behalf of three female athletes, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit urging it to protect equal opportunity for women’s athletics.

In Neese v. Becerra, two Texas-based physicians are challenging the Biden administration’s attempt to rewrite Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to force doctors and hospitals to offer medical procedures that seek to alter a patient’s sex even if the procedure violates the doctors’ medical judgment or religious beliefs. Because the Affordable Care Act incorporates language from Title IX, the administration is also attempting to rewrite Title IX to require that schools permit males to compete on women’s sports teams.

“Female athletes deserve to compete on a fair and level playing field with other women, and Title IX has long protected equal opportunity for women to excel in sports,” said ADF Legal Counsel Rachel Rouleau. “We urge the 5th Circuit to not only protect female athletes but also doctors, who should never be forced to perform controversial and medically dangerous procedures that violate their consciences and religious beliefs. The district court rightly stopped the Biden administration’s gross overreach of its authority and political agenda, and we hope the 5th Circuit will affirm that ruling.”

In August 2022, ADF attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case with a federal district court urging it to protect female athletes by stopping the administration’s attempt to rewrite federal law. The court did so and rejected the administration’s reinterpretation of the word “sex” to cover “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in federal statutes. The administration then appealed the ruling to the 5th Circuit.

ADF attorneys filed their friend-of-the-court brief Friday on behalf of Chelsea Mitchell, an All-American long-jumper who won numerous state championships in sprinting and jumping events; Madison Kenyon, a track and cross-country athlete at Idaho State University; and Kassidy Comer, a former collegiate basketball player. The brief explains how these athletes “have benefited from Title IX’s guarantee of equal educational opportunities for women and girls. Mitchell and Kenyon have also competed against—and lost—in track and field events to males who identified as women. Mitchell, Kenyon, and Comer’s experiences show that incorporating Bostock’s reasoning to Title IX upends the very opportunities Title IX was meant to protect, and that Secretary [Becerra’s] reading of the statute is therefore wrong” (hyperlink added).

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Rachel Rouleau

Rachel Rouleau serves as legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a member of the Center for Conscience Initiatives. Rouleau joined the Conscience Team in 2020, where she focuses on protecting the conscience rights of individuals being unjustly forced to compromise their beliefs under threat of heavy fines and punishment. Prior to that, she was a First Year Lawyer Fellow in ADF’s new fellowship program. Rouleau earned her J.D. from William and Mary Law School in 2019. She obtained her B.A. in political science from the University of Florida in 2015. She is a member of the Massachusetts bar.