The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is allegedly planning to propose a new rule, which would make it harder for transgender people and women who have had abortions to access healthcare.
The Hill first reported on this latest anti-LGBTI move from the Trump-Pence administration on Tuesday (23 April).
In a recent court filing, the HHS apparently hinted at introducing this new rule in the coming weeks. As is common with many of this administration’s policy decisions, it will roll back an Obama-era policy.
In 2016, six years after the passage of ObamaCare (aka the Affordable Care Act), a rule was passed prohibiting any providers or insurers who received federal funding from denying care to patients based on their sex, gender identity or past termination of a pregnancy.
The Trump administration’s reported justification for this rule change is also in line with past decisions — religious freedom. Many religious institutions have said the new rule will allow them to refuse treatment that goes against their beliefs.
LGBTI advocates are concerned
LGBTI advocates and groups across the country are already preparing for a fight.
‘To have the government take a stand in favor of discrimination is deeply upsetting,’ said American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Chase Strangio.
Once the rule is officially proposed, there will be a period of public comments, following by a ruling. Legal teams are already preparing themselves.
‘If the final rule looks like the proposal we are anticipating, we and our partners will file suit as soon as possible,’ Strangio added. ‘We can expect many legal challenges to any final rule.’
Harper Jean Tobin, director of policy at the National Center for Transgender Equality, described the proposed rule as a ‘steady drip of allowing more discrimination’.
This follows the HHS’ decision to remove data on LGBTI children in the foster care system.