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Italy’s prime minister proposes aid for women in financial straits who reject abortion

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speaks during a conference on “The General State of the Birth Rate” in Rome on May 12, 2023. / Credit: Daniel Ibañez/CNA

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 11, 2024 / 08:00 am (CNA).

The government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is also president of the Council of Ministers of Italy, has proposed a “maternity income” bill to provide financial assistance to pregnant women in need who reject abortion.

This initiative, promoted by Sen. Maurizio Gasparri of the Forza Italia political party, offers aid of 1,000 euros (about $1,082) for five years to Italian women who decide to continue with their pregnancy despite their financial difficulties.

The bill aims to reduce abortions motivated by the financial hardships of pregnant mothers, based on Article 5 of Italy’s Law 194.

Gasparri said this is “not only moral but also financial” support for women who decide not to end the life of their children in the womb. “Let’s defend life!” he wrote on X when announcing the measure.

The proposal — scheduled to be introduced next week — provides for an increase of 50 euros ($54) per month starting with the second child and 100 euros ($108) up to the age of 18 in the event that the child has a disability.

To finance it, a maternity income fund would be created with 600 million euros ($649 million) annually starting this year, and mothers who wish to apply for it must have an Indicator of Equivalent Economic Situation (ISEE) of less than 15,000 euros ($16,230) and be Italian citizens residing in the country.

In April, Meloni approved a package of measures to curb abortion in the country.

Among the measures, the Italian Parliament allowed volunteers from pro-life associations access to abortion centers to guarantee assistance to mothers who wish to abort their unborn children.

Abortion was legalized in Italy in 1978, under Law 194, which Meloni has pledged not to change, although she stated that her pro-life measures aim to “guarantee women the possibility of choosing an alternative, offering an active role by public institutions in order to remove the financial causes that can push a woman to abort.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

‘Worst platform I’ve ever seen’: Conservatives slam Republicans for softening pro-life stance

“Beyond Dobbs” panelists at the 2024 National Conservatism Conference on July 10, 2024, in Washington, D.C., included, left to right: Emma Waters, senior research associate at The Heritage Foundation; Mary Margaret Olohan, author and journalist at The Daily Signal; Tom McClusky, conservative policy strategist; Chad Pecknold, professor of systematic theology at The Catholic University of America; and Katy Talento, CEO of AllBetter Health. / Credit: Peter Pinedo/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 11, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

Top conservatives at a “Beyond Dobbs” panel discussion at the 2024 National Conservatism Conference expressed anger over the Republican Party’s softening of its pro-life stance ahead of this November’s election, with one calling the GOP’s new platform the “worst platform I’ve ever seen.”

Organized Wednesday in Washington, D.C., by the Edmund Burke Foundation in partnership with over a dozen other major U.S. conservative think tanks, the conference’s panel on the subject focused on the political landscape in the post-Roe v. Wade era.

Several panelists, including a former Trump administration official, severely criticized the 2024 GOP platform, which was approved by the Republican National Convention’s platform committee on Monday.

What’s going on with Republicans and abortion?

Since Roe’s overturn in 2022 the pro-life movement has struggled to achieve any significant policy wins at the polls, leading some Republicans to believe abortion is a losing issue.

This belief appeared to be reflected in the GOP’s new platform, which removed a long-standing “right to life” plank and any call for a national law protecting unborn life.

Tom McClusky, a veteran operative in the pro-life movement, led the charge in slamming Republicans for backing away from the life issue.

“The RNC platform, I’m sorry, it is the worst platform I’ve ever seen,” McClusky said. “The platform, to me, has always been a promissory note. This is what the Republican Party stands for, this is the ideals that we strive for, and we’ve lost that now.”

He pointed to the Biden administration’s actions to promote abortion, saying it has “proven” that abortion cannot “just go back to the states.”

“Look at everything that he [Biden] has done,” he said. “They’ve turned our veterans’ hospitals into abortuaries. They’ve turned our military into abortion travel services. They’ve taken the Department of Justice and gone after people who stand up for life.”

“That is not something the states can stop,” he added. “That is only something the federal government can do.”

‘Quietly transforming every agency into Planned Parenthood’

Katy Talento, another panelist and former Trump administration Domestic Policy Council adviser, also criticized Republicans for backing away from the national abortion debate.

According to Talento, the Biden administration has been “quietly transforming every [government] agency into Planned Parenthood.”

Leaving the status quo regarding abortion, Talento claimed, would greatly advantage the abortion industry and result in more deaths of not only unborn babies but also pregnant women.

“I would strongly urge any hand-wringing politician worried about suburban women to read the FDA label before advocating for [abortion] pill-pushing on demand. The next woman bleeding out in the fetal position could be their daughter or their granddaughter,” Talento warned.

“It appears that there is little courage or appetite among our national leaders to try to protect unborn Americans with new federal laws,” she added. However, she emphasized, “there are too many radical policies implemented by Team Biden throughout many agencies to let any new president or cabinet secretary off the hook.”

Promoting marriage and families

Various panelists also suggested strategies to push back against abortion and reverse the ongoing decline in births.

Emma Waters, a senior research associate at The Heritage Foundation, said promoting a culture conducive to life involves all aspects of society, government, and religion.

Government policy, Waters said, must include not only on materially supporting mothers but also on promoting stable marriages and families.

“All policy must be pro-family policy,” she said. “We don’t need a separate policy group focused on family policy, we need those who are working in foreign policy, those who are in education, those who are in welfare and beyond, asking themselves, ‘Does this policy that I’m putting forward help support and encourage the family?’”

“To solve the fertility crisis,” she continued, “we can’t simply focus on creating more children. We must focus on creating more healthy marriages between married men and women. That’s where we’re going to find our solution.”

As marriage rates continue to plunge, how can the Church get more people to the altar?

null / Credit: Ivan Galashchuk/Shutterstock

CNA Staff, Jul 11, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

The Catholic Church needs to be focused at the parish level to drive up plunging marriage rates among the faithful, experts say, as low marriage rates in the Church mirror the collapse of matrimony in wider society. 

Catholic marriage rates dropped by about 70% between 1969 and 2019, according to data from Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate

The collapse reflects the broader decline of marriage rates throughout the United States, with a record 25% of 40-year-olds in the U.S. currently having never been married, according to Pew Research data

Experts and marriage advocates have long offered explanations for plummeting marriage rates. Mary Rose Verret, who with her husband, Ryan, founded the marriage renewal and preparation initiative Witness to Love, has argued that young Catholics are “not seeing holy, healthy, happy marriages being lived out,” leaving them without meaningful examples of successful unions.

The Verrets told CNA that the Catholic Church should be considerably more proactive in encouraging marriages. 

“As a Church, we can do a better job talking about marriage from the pulpit,” Mary Rose said. “We need to talk to young people about marriage when they’re younger. We need to sing the benefits of marriage. We should have married couples go to schools and espouse the benefits of marriage.”

Ryan told CNA that such witness is a critical component to bolstering marriages, especially for those who lack those examples in their own lives. “How do you know there’s another way of doing things if you don’t even see it?” he said.

‘An opportunity for conversion’

Pope Francis last year named the Verrets as consultants to the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, which Mary Rose said would allow them to “serve the sacrament of marriage in a more impactful way.” 

The couple’s Witness to Love program offers a “full-circle” approach to promoting strong marriages in order to counteract collapsing marriage numbers in the U.S. The ministry helps couples “explore the depths of their relationship” by “nurturing qualities that form the foundation of enduring love and commitment.” 

Yet Ryan told CNA this week that “more and more couples these days don’t know someone who’s married.” 

J.P. De Gance, the founder and president of a marriage and relationship ministry called Communio, pointed out that dioceses often invest much more in priestly vocations than matrimonial ones. 

“Every diocese has a vocations director, and that director typically focuses on vocations to priestly ordination,” he told CNA. “When we focus in that area, we’re trying to get men to commit to a celibate life dedicated to Our Lord and to priestly ministry.”

“That’s a harder ask, typically, than marriage,” he pointed out. “... If you compare marital vocations to priestly vocations, ordinations are down 38% since 1970, but Catholic marriages are down north of 70%.” 

That ratio, he said, means that “we’re getting twice as many priestly ordinations per Catholic wedding.” 

He pointed out that historically marriage has been seen as the “foundation” of success, whereas in the modern era it is increasingly seen as a “capstone” to success. 

“Today a lot of parents, even faithful parents, are saying: ‘Don’t think about getting married or even getting serious until after college. Wait until you’re established’,” DeGance noted. “Any time parents say that, you’re advancing a message that causes our kids to delay marriage.”

Parishes have a significant role to play in helping reverse this decline, De Gance said.

“At the parish level, we need to teach the skills of discerning a good Christian relationship and a good Christian spouse,” he said. 

Though not everyone is called to marriage, De Gance said, pastors should stress that it’s “the most common path to grow in holiness.”

“A lot of time parish priests are concerned about preaching in this way,” he said. “They’re afraid of hurting people by talking about this.” 

But “if we fail to preach and teach about it, we’re not going to have any chance to push back against the zeitgeist that’s saying the exact opposite,” he said. 

Mary Rose Verret told CNA that she has observed intense interest from young people about marriage. When she facilitated marriage-focused events while working for the Family Life Office of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, “we’d hit the capacity of the building,” she said.

“It’s not that young people value marriage less,” she said. Rather, “they idealize it, they delay it,” and, further, they “don’t surround themselves with marriageable people.”

Ryan Verret said parishes should help facilitate relationships in which young adults can help each other toward getting married, including introducing single friends who are seeking marriage.

“We’re helping parishes to say: ‘If you want engaged couples to be married in the Church, then there needs to be an opportunity to enrich marriages,’” he said. To get to that point, he noted, young men and women “need to have a reference point for what marriage looks like in society.”

De Gance, meanwhile, said one way parishes can help is to defray the high costs often associated with weddings. The average wedding in the U.S. can run more than $30,000, which is often prohibitive for young people looking to get married.

Parishes often charge money for wedding services, including receptions, and De Gance said they should aim to keep those fees as low as possible.

“Parishes should see marriages and weddings as an opportunity for conversion, not as a way to offset costs for the parish,” he said. “The cost of a wedding is a barrier for a lot of young people. There should be inexpensive ways to leverage the facility so you can host a low-cost wedding reception.”

Part of the danger, De Gance noted, is that many Church leaders have become used to the new paradigm of low marriage rates and young people who don’t want to get married. “There is a general cultural zeitgeist that Catholics and other Christians have imbibed, and we don’t even realize it.”

Yet the crisis, he said, should not be overlooked. “This is the civilizational challenge facing the Church,” he said.

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States, doctors sue Biden administration over transgender medical mandate

null / Credit: Ulf Wittrock/Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 10, 2024 / 17:55 pm (CNA).

Seven states and a group of pediatricians are suing President Joe Biden’s administration over a rule that would force doctors to provide sex-change procedures and require health insurers to cover them.

“Joe Biden is once again exceeding his legal authority in order to force his radical transgender ideology onto the American people,” Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who led the seven-state coalition, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The lawsuit argues that HHS did not have the authority to create the rule and that it is not a legitimate interpretation of the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination. It also argues that the rule violates the First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights of health care providers.

The Biden administration “is threatening to hold federal funding hostage from any health care provider that refuses to perform or affirm harmful and irreversible transgender procedures,” Bailey said.

“I am filing suit because I will not allow out-of-touch federal bureaucrats to force Missouri health care providers into performing experimental and dangerous gender-transition procedures on the taxpayer dime.”

The other states joining in the lawsuit are Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the rule in April of this year. The rule reinterprets the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) prohibition on “sex” discrimination to include a ban on “gender identity” discrimination, even if the person’s self-asserted “gender identity” is different from his or her sex. The ban on discrimination applies whether the patients are adults or minors.

Refusing to provide or cover transgender medical interventions, such as sex-change operations and drugs, is considered discriminatory and unlawful under the rule. If a health care provider or insurer violates this rule, they could be stripped of federal financial assistance and would be excluded from participating in Medicare and Medicaid. 

The ACA itself does not specifically reference “gender identity” or sex-change procedures on adults or minors.

The lawsuit asks the federal court to block HHS from enforcing the law against the seven states in the lawsuit and the doctors affiliated with the American College of Pediatricians, which is also represented in the lawsuit. 

Last week, a federal judge temporarily blocked HHS from enforcing the law against 15 other states who separately filed a lawsuit.

Dr. Jill Simons, the executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, said in a statement that the organization joined the lawsuit because “doctors should never be forced to violate their sound medical judgment and perform life-altering and sterilizing interventions on their patients.”

“Our doctors take an oath to do no harm, but the Biden administration’s rule forces them to violate this oath and perform procedures that are harmful and dangerous to our patients — vulnerable children,” she added. “What the Biden administration is calling for is wrong and unlawful.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake accused the Biden administration of trying to “hijack medicine” with the rule. ADF is representing the American College of Pediatricians in the suit.

“The HHS rule will harm those suffering from gender dysphoria, particularly children, and punish doctors who seek to care for them,” Blake said in a statement. 

“Medical professionals around the world and individuals who have undergone these experimental, body-altering procedures are warning about their risks,” she said. “Yet the Biden administration is working to force doctors to perform these harmful, often sterilizing procedures to make people appear as the opposite sex.” 

“We are urging the court to halt the administration’s vast overreach in health care.”

The HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

National Eucharistic Pilgrims serve the poor during ‘Boxes of Mercy’ day of service

Perpetual Pilgrim Patrick Fayad lifts a heavy "Box of Mercy" filled with donations for refugee families. / Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

St. Louis, Mo., Jul 10, 2024 / 17:25 pm (CNA).

As cars sped past a humble St. Louis apartment complex and children played nearby, a gaggle of mostly Latino residents gathered around a group of Catholic sisters, eagerly waiting to hear their name called. 

When each family’s cardboard box was located, a Perpetual Pilgrim — young men and women committed to walking thousands of miles across the U.S. with the Eucharist this summer — stepped forward to carry the heavy box up to each family’s apartment. 

An initiative of the Archdiocese of St. Louis as part of the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival, the “Boxes of Mercy” were loaded over the past few months with donated necessities such as food, clothes, and personal care items. Catholics from at least 61 parishes in the archdiocese contributed donations to the boxes, according to the St. Louis Review.

The St. Junípero Serra Route, the longest of the four National Eucharistic Pilgrimage routes, began in San Francisco in May and arrived in the St. Louis area July 5 to enthusiastic crowds. Throughout the pilgrimage experience, on Saturdays, the Perpetual Pilgrims have been given opportunities to serve the poor in the communities they are passing through. 

Given the summer heat and the substantial weight of the boxes, the July 6 project turned out to be one of the more physically strenuous service opportunities that the pilgrims have engaged in, Perpetual Pilgrim Patrick Fayad told CNA. 

Of all the projects the Serra Route pilgrims have done, “this is the most intense,” he said.

“Which is really good,” he added. 

Before the sisters brought the boxes to the apartment complex, Auxiliary Bishop Mark Rivituso of St. Louis blessed the boxes with holy water, calling the boxes “an overwhelming response of generosity on behalf of so many, who see the need and want to help and be Christ’s compassion for others.”

After Eucharistic adoration with the Missionaries of Charity, Rivituso then processed the Eucharist from the Missionaries of Charity to St. Josephine Bakhita Parish, where adoration continued while the pilgrims prepared to head to where the boxes were to be distributed. 

Bishop Mark Rivituso, auxiliary of St. Louis, blesses the "Boxes of Mercy" filled with donations for refugee families. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA
Bishop Mark Rivituso, auxiliary of St. Louis, blesses the "Boxes of Mercy" filled with donations for refugee families. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

Carpooling in vans, the pilgrims arrived at the north St. Louis City apartment complex that houses a large number of refugee families from Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and several African countries. As the assembled refugees smiled with joy and gratitude, the pilgrims carried the heavy boxes up to each apartment while the Missionaries of Charity issued directions. Sister Drita Maris, MC, said the sisters come to this complex frequently to offer assistance and faith instruction to the children who live there.

“Really, we appreciate it. My family appreciates it always,” said Olga Rivas, one of the recipients, who came to the U.S. with her family from Colombia. She said the Missionaries of Charity always make themselves available for the material and spiritual needs of the refugees. 

“I’m blessed, because they always try to help … They help me with my apartment and come and pray in my apartment … If you have a problem, just talk with them,” Rivas said. 

Cecelia Lopez, a former resident of the apartment complex who returns frequently to help the refugee families, acted as translator and led the group in prayer, in Spanish, before the boxes were distributed. She said the sisters have been a huge help to the refugee families, saying the families know they can call the sisters “with any need.”

Ceclia Lopez, center, leads the group in prayer, in Spanish, before the "Boxes of Mercy" were distributed. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA
Ceclia Lopez, center, leads the group in prayer, in Spanish, before the "Boxes of Mercy" were distributed. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

Jane Guenther, director of the Catholic Renewal Center for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, told CNA that the service project aimed to be a preparation for the next phase of the Eucharistic Revival, the Year of Mission. As part of that next phase, Catholics are invited to “commit to the daily gift of yourself, in concrete acts of service to others, which is at the heart of missionary discipleship.”

The St. Louis service project was “a really important thing, to give them that experience to be a part of that Eucharistic missionary aspect,” Guenther said. 

Radio María in Nicaragua shut down by country’s dictatorship 

Daniel Ortega. / Credit: Flickr de la OEA (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 10, 2024 / 16:55 pm (CNA).

The dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, canceled the legal status of Radio María Nicaragua along with that of several evangelical churches.

The decision was detailed in ministerial agreement No. 34-2024-OSFL, signed by Minister of the Interior María Amelia Coronel Kinlock and published July 9 in the official government newspaper La Gaceta.

In addition to Radio María, also named in the notice were the Prince of Peace Christian Church House of Prayer Association, the Association of Evangelical Churches of Nicaragua Jacob’s Well, the Apostolic Ministry Pentecost Prophetic Fire Association, and eight other institutions.

The ministerial agreement states that these organizations have not reported “for periods of between 2 and 26 years their financial statements” with “detailed breakdowns of income and expenses,” which hinders “regulation and oversight” by the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate of Registration and Regulation of Nonprofit Organizations.

Sources consulted by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, pointed out that this is the same dictatorship, through the Ministry of the Interior, that decides not to receive these financial statements when the organizations want to file them and then argues failure to file as a reason for the cancellation of the legal status of targeted organizations.

The notice in La Gaceta also specified that the title to the properties of all the listed organizations will pass over to the government of Nicaragua, the measure usually taken by the dictatorship when it decides to revoke the legal status of a nonprofit institution.

On April 11, Radio María Nicaragua had previously reported that its bank accounts in the Banco de la Producción, where donations are received in dollars and córdobas, the national currency, were frozen.

‘More attacks against the Church’ in Nicaragua

In an X post, Nicaragua’s former ambassador to the Organization of American States, Arturo McFields Yescas, denounced the regime’s “latest attack against the Church.” 

“Radio María’s accounts were frozen, their programming was altered, they were monitored, harassed, and finally today they canceled their legal status. The satanic dictatorship of Nicaragua hates the Church to death,” McFields Yescas declared.

For its part, the Nicaragua University Alliance charged on X that “the Ortega-Murillo regime continues to demonstrate its fear of truth and faith, canceling Radio María Nicaragua. They will not silence us. We condemn this new attack against freedom of the press and religion.”

Meanwhile, exiled researcher and lawyer Martha Patricia Molina, author of the report “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?”, told ACI Prensa the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship continues to persecute Christians in Nicaragua “despite the silence that has been imposed on bishops and priests so they won’t continue denouncing the arbitrary actions committed daily.”

“First, Radio María was forced to cut staff and broadcasting hours due to high operating costs that are attributed to the increase in charges for basic services such as electricity, which is a way employed by the dictatorship to financially suffocate the Church,” she explained.

“Then the vice dictator Rosario Murillo forced the radio directors to include in their programming the daily speeches that she broadcasts in the pro-government media,” Molina charged in a statement to ACI Prensa.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Biden administration shifts again, appears to back sex-change surgeries for minors

null / Credit: itakdalee/Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 10, 2024 / 16:25 pm (CNA).

President Joe Biden’s administration has shifted its position on sex-change surgeries for minors for the second time this month, now appearing to support surgical gender transitions for people under the age of 18.

Neera Tanden, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, sent an email to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — an LGBT advocacy group — confirming that the White House supports transgender medical interventions on minors and opposes state-level efforts to restrict them. The news was first reported by an LGBT magazine, The Advocate, which obtained the email from HRC.

In her email, Tanden said that sex-change surgeries “are typically reserved for adults, and we believe they should be.” However, she added, “above all, families should have the freedom to make the medical decisions that they and their doctors determine are best for them — which is why we oppose attempts to limit health care for transgender individuals in the courts or through legislation.”

“We will continue to vigorously fight categorical bans on gender-affirming care in the courts, including the Supreme Court, and we will fight back hard against partisan laws being pushed by extreme Republican elected officials that target Americans just for who they are,” the statement read.

The statement provided to HRC is a departure from a comment made by a spokesperson for the White House just last week, which said that sex-change surgeries “should be limited to adults.” In a rhetorical shift, the new statement instead says that sex-change surgeries are “typically reserved for adults” but that the administration opposes legal restrictions.

For girls, sex-change surgeries can include the removal of healthy breasts and ovaries along with genital surgery to add prosthetic genitalia that appear male. For boys, sex-change surgeries can include the addition of prosthetic breasts along with castration and genital surgery that makes the boy appear female. Some surgeries, such as castration and the removal of ovaries, render the person infertile.

A study published in August 2023 estimated that patients aged 12 through 18 accounted for nearly 8% of transgender surgeries between 2016 and 2020 in the United States — about 3,678 surgeries in total. This included more than 3,200 chest surgeries and more than 400 genital surgeries to facilitate a sex change.

Jay Richards, the director of the DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told CNA there’s been a “massive increase” in transgender medical interventions on minors in recent years and disputed the administration’s claim that sex-change surgeries are “typically reserved for adults” under current practice. 

“We know that … a few thousand American kids have undergone these procedures already,” he said.

The Biden administration issued its statement following a weeklong campaign by HRC and other advocacy groups that requested the administration openly support the legality of sex-change surgeries for minors. HRC President Kelley Robinson welcomed the clarification on the White House’s support for those surgeries.

“We appreciate that the administration has clarified that its position on health care for the transgender community has not changed — that it opposes any and all bans on access to care and will continue to fight these bans both in the courts and at the legislative level,” Robinson said in a statement.

Mary Rice Hasson, the director of the Person and Identity Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told CNA the White House’s email to HRC shows that “LGBTQ activists — not scientific evidence — dictate the Biden administration’s support for disfiguring, fertility-destroying hormones and surgeries for identity-distressed youth.”

“After initially appearing to oppose irreversible ‘transition’ surgery for minors, the White House faced huge pressure from powerful LGBTQ lobby groups to correct the record,” Hasson said. “Sure enough, the White House has reiterated its enthusiasm for sterilizing confused, troubled minors — under the deceptive label of ‘affirming care.’”

Similarly, Dr. Michael Artigues, the president of the American College of Pediatricians — which opposes gender transitions for minors — told CNA that the organization was “initially hopeful that the current administration had started to move in the right direction by opposing surgical intervention on minors, but this is apparently not the case.”

“We will continue to work with others in the medical community who understand what evidence-based medicine is and who truly want what is best for children,” he said.

Richards said he believes that the administration’s earlier hesitation on minors receiving sex-change surgeries was simply so “they can get headlines” because “the public overwhelmingly opposes these procedures.” He called the previous comments “half-hearted” and argued that the supposed shift on policy “wasn’t because [the administration] actually changed its mind.”

“Absolutely everything the Biden administration has done since it began has been in favor of the most radical transgender medical interventions [for minors],” Richards added.

Doctors can legally perform sex-change operations on children in slightly more than half of the states in the country. Over the past few years, about two dozen states banned doctors from performing sex-change surgeries on minors, an effort that was mostly led by Republicans.