U.S. President Donald Trump talks arrives to participate in a Fox News “virtual town hall” event with members of the coronavirus task force in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a policy that reverses an ObamaCare rule protecting abortion access and transgender rights. The 2016 policy broadened the definition for sex discrimination by including “termination of pregnancy and gender identity, which it defined as ‘one’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.'” The Trump administration’s policy reversal “[returns] to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word “sex” as male or female and as determined by biology.” 

Advocates for the policy reversal claim medical professionals can now “decline to perform ethically problematic” or “experimental and dangerous” procedures, especially if those procedures are against their religious beliefs. The Trump administration has fought accusations that removing the protections from the Affordable Care Act is “eliminating patient protections,” because the rule had taken effect after a federal judge in Texas repealed some of the regulations last year following a lawsuit from religious groups.

LGBTQ advocacy groups have condemned the change and announced plans to sue the Trump administration. Transgender individuals fear that this policy reversal could lead to discrimination in “medical care for common conditions such as diabetes or heart problems.” Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, has claimed that transgender people will not lose their protections because of other statutes barring discrimination. This policy change was announced during Pride month, specifically on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre, which has led to the change being called a “dose of anti-trans poison” that is “cruel and utterly predictable.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Trump officials to roll back LGBTQ protections – The Hill – 6/12/2020
The move was announced amid Pride Month but has been long-anticipated by religious providers, who argue the administration needs to reinforce their right not to provide treatment that is against their beliefs. The administration has been working on the rule for well over a year.

Trump administration rolls back Obama-era transgender health care protections – CNN – 6/13/2020
The Trump administration announced Friday it is eliminating an Obama-era regulation prohibiting discrimination in health care against patients who are transgender.

Trump finalizes rule defining gender as a person’s biological sex – The Washington Times – 6/12/2020
The Health and Human Services Department regulation says essentially that “gender identity” is not protected under federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in health care. The policy shift was long sought by religious and social conservatives.

Trump Administration Really Wants Doctors To Discriminate Against Trans People For Some Reason – Wonkette – 6/13/2020
On Friday afternoon, the Trump administration celebrated Pride Month and commemorated the anniversary of the mass shooting at the Pulse night club with a rule that would allow doctors to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, trans people in particular, and also those who have abortions.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Aly & AJ on Twitter, 6/12/20: The Trump administration just finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in health care & health insurance on the 4 year anniversary of #PulseNightclub 💔 49 human beings lost their lives…we will keep fighting for equality & gun control

John Pavlovitz on Twitter, 6/12/20: If you love an LGBTQ person and you’re planning on voting for Donald Trump in November, that’s an act of violence against them.

The Daily Signal on Twitter, 6/13/20: Don’t let the left whip you into a frenzy. Federal civil rights laws already prohibit discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, and sex. And Trump’s HHS will continue to enforce that law

Family Research Council on Twitter, 6/13/20: This is good to see. @HHSGov

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