Three advocacy groups announced on Tuesday (28 May) a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for its recent rollback of transgender healthcare rights.
Lambda Legal, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the suit in in the US District Court for the Northern District of California in coordination with Santa Clara County. They are representing numerous groups, including Trust Women Seattle, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and more.
The suit is filed against the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and a recently introduced policy.
Per this new policy, healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, insurance companies, and more, can deny healthcare to anyone based on personal religious or moral reasons. If a healthcare facility does not comply with this policy, they can lose federal funding.
The policy essentially legalizes discrimination in healthcare, which is something non-cisgender people already face.
Lambda Legal and the groups are arguing this policy is unconstitutional ‘because it advances specific religious beliefs in violation of the First Amendment; violates patients’ rights to privacy, liberty and equal dignity as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment’.
The lawsuit also asserts the HHS ‘violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act in creating the rule by arbitrarily and capriciously failing to consider the impact on patients’.
A wide ‘breadth of harm’
Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Jamie Gliksberg said it is ‘impossible to exaggerate’ the ‘breadth of the harm’ this policy will cause.
She added it also ‘opens up yet another front in the Trump Administration’s assault on civil rights of minorities and already marginalized, vulnerable populations’.
Gliksberg concluded with a dire warning: ‘This almost limitless invitation to discriminate will inevitably result in women, LGBT people and religious minorities facing hostile health care workers and denials of medical care at moments of greatest need, where any delay could be fatal.’
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of The Center for Reproductive Rights, doubled down on Gliksberg’s comments, stating the policy is a ‘matter of life and death’.
‘The Constitution does not condone this type of grave harm to others,’ concluded Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United.