Donald Trump’s pathetic attempt to roll back LGBT+ health protections just hit a major roadblock
A second federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s latest attempt to remove healthcare protections for transgender people.
On Wednesday (2 September), judge James E Boasberg of the US District Court issued an injunction which blocks two key portions of a rule proposed by Trump and his Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The new rules granted a broad exemption for healthcare providers to deny services by citing their religious beliefs, effectively reversing Obama-era Affordable Care Act regulations that said discrimination protections “on the basis of sex” should apply to transgender people.
Civil rights advocates had decried the new interpretation, saying it would likely be used to deny care to transgender patients.
The bid was first blocked on August 17 by US District Court judge Frederic Block, who said the government acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in attempting to contradict the Supreme Court’s Title VII ruling.
Judge Boasberg reinforced Block’s judgement as he granted the preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s rollback of rights.
“Denying an injunction would impede the public interest by threatening the health of LGBT+ individuals at large, some of whom will likely develop increasingly acute conditions on account of their delaying necessary care or refraining from transparent communication with providers out of fear of discrimination,” Boasberg wrote.
“There is clearly a robust public interest in safeguarding prompt access to health care. The COVID-19 pandemic only reinforces the importance of that public interest and the concomitant need to ensure the availability and provision of care on a nondiscriminatory basis.”
Like Block, Boasberg invoked the Supreme Court’s Title VII ruling, which he said “at the very least” called HHS’s narrow definition of sex discrimination into question.
While he acknowledged that the high court’s decision applied to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he said there is no reason to believe the reasoning should be confined to that law alone.
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The judgement was welcomed by Lambda Legal, which represented the plaintiffs involved in the case.
“We are gratified that the court in an extensive and detailed decision put key aspects of the disastrous and discriminatory health care rule on hold while our challenge moves forward, particularly while in the midst of a pandemic,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Lambda Legal senior attorney and health care strategist, said in a press release.
“Health care is a human right and the Affordable Care Act sought to expand access to health care for everyone regardless of their sex, LGBT+ identity, or other characteristics. This administration’s health care discrimination rule is just another example of its disdain for LGBT+ lives and the law.
“The rule is unlawful and endangers people’s lives, plain and simple,” he continued.
“A health care policy that is rooted in animus against LGBT+ people, particularly those who are most vulnerable among us like transgender people and those with limited English proficiency, cannot stand.”