Culture

Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration From Ending Transgender Health Care Protections

The discriminatory rule would have taken effect today.

1,004 Hypes

Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration From Ending Transgender Health Care Protections

The discriminatory rule would have taken effect today.

Judge Frederic Block of the United States District Court has temporarily blocked efforts by the Trump administration to roll back an Obama-era rule requiring health care providers to treat transgender patients.

According to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, “certain health programs and activities” cannot refuse care on the basis of sex, as well as race, color, national origin, age and disability. In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expanded the definition of “sex” to encompass gender identity. Overriding the 2016 ruling, the HHS announced that it would revert the definition of sex-based discrimination “to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.”

In a preliminary injunction, Judge Block wrote that the administration’s planned reversal of transgender protections violates the Supreme Court’s recent ban on workplace discrimination against LGBTQ+ employees. The landmark ruling, which passed in June, extends federal civil rights law to gay, lesbian and transgender workers. Had Trump’s rollback gone into effect as planned, health care providers and insurance companies would be able to openly discriminate against transgender patients.

Block’s preliminary injunction is not a definitive ban on the new rule — rather, it temporarily bars its enforcement. The judge will hear arguments from both sides before coming to a final decision, and any decision Block issues will still be subject to appeal.

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