The Trump Administration’s plan to allow doctors to deny treatment to trans people is set to be implemented.
The policy recently announced by the Trump administration would allow healthcare professionals to refuse to treat LGBT+ people if they have a religious objection.
Trump’s proposed rule would remove an Obama-era protection and would allow doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies to deny coverage or treatment based on gender identity.
The Justice Department confirmed to the New York Times that the Department of Health and Human Services have submitted a draft of the new policy.
The White House later confirmed that they were was reviewing federal healthcare anti-discrimination policies.
The 2016 rule was set up to complement other parts of the Affordable Care Act and banned health insurers from putting arbitrary limits on trans healthcare or discriminating based on gender identity.
Due to this rule, transgender Americans were able to access gender confirmation surgeries which previously could have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Despite mass criticism about the removal of the protections, the policy is set to be rolled out despite estimated costs of over $300 million.
This potential rule follows a legal challenge against the anti-discrimination rules by a group of medical professionals.
A federal judge in Texas stopped the protections based on gender identity, stating that in the law, Congress had banned discrimination based on sex but argued that this did not include gender identity.
Judge Reed O’Connor said in 2016: “Congress did not understand ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity.'”
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Under the proposed new rule, medical staff would be permitted to cite their religion as a reason to refuse treatment of any kind to trans people.
The Health and Human Services’ civil rights division is run by Roger Severino, a Trump appointee who has repeatedly spoken out in favour of religious groups’ rights over those of LGBT people.
He made these views clear in a 2016 report for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank which held the second anti-LGBT summit that Trump spoke at last year.
Severino and a co-author wrote: “On the basis of religious teachings, moral reasoning, scientific evidence, and medical experience, many have strong grounds to hold that one’s sex is an immutable characteristic.
Many involved in providing medical care and those enrolled in health insurance plans have serious objections to participating in or paying for sex-reassignment surgeries or gender transitions.”
The proposed rule has been sharply criticised by trans advocates.
The Democratic National Committee’s director of women’s media Elizabeth Renda and director of LGBTQ media Lucas Acosta said: “It wasn’t enough to try to strip transgender Americans of their right to serve, roll back access to birth control, and attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.
“Now Trump, Pence, and their Republican cronies want to allow healthcare workers to discriminate and rip away access to medical care.”
The move would also protect health workers who don’t want to perform abortions, which are increasingly inaccessible in many states.