Health Care

Judge blocks HHS mandate on gender transition, abortion

Judge blocks HHS mandate on gender transition, abortion

USA district judge Reed O'Connor on Saturday granted a temporary injunction that stops federal health officials from enforcing rules that are meant to ban discrimination by doctors and hospitals against transgender persons.

Earlier this year, O'Connor also issued an injunction halting enforcement of the Obama administration's protections for transgender students in schools.

"Today's decision is a setback, but hopefully a temporary one, since all Americans - regardless of their sex or sexual orientation - should have access to quality, affordable health care free from discrimination", she said.

O'Connor sided with opponents in issuing the preliminary injunction, that the private healthcare providers had demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on their claim that the federal health rule violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, according to The Rivard Report.

Read the full story first reported by Buzzfeed reported Chris Geidner.

The injunction granted by United States District Judge Reed O'Connor, is in response to a lawsuit filed by Texas and four other states, on behalf of religious hospital - Franciscan Alliance, in August.

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Under the rule, a health care provider must provide transition-related care, including gender reassignment surgery, to a transgender person if that provider offers a similar service, such as hysterectomies.

The sweeping nationwide injunction seems to enjoin the Obama administration from enforcing the rule not just for religious-affiliated providers, but for health care providers regardless of whether or not they're religious affiliated.

"This is another predictable, baseless ruling by a judge who state officials handpicked to deliver a ruling against transgender people", said National Center for Transgender Equality's Executive Director Mara Keisling in a statement.

The court order, brought by the states of Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Arizona, Kentucky, and MS, along with three Christian-affiliated groups, stated that the Health and Human Services department's regulations prohibiting doctors from discriminating on the basis of gender identity, or against women seeking abortions, violated practitioners' religious freedom. The firm is also known as Becket Law. Indeed, by the terms of his ruling, the government can't require doctors and insurance companies to treat or cover anything they believe to be "evil".

The rule in dispute on Saturday was adopted by the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Department to implement those provisions, including definitions for sex discrimination that encompassed transgender and abortion services. O'Connor agreed with the plaintiffs, saying the federal government had "revised" discrimination based on sex. It remains to be seen whether the Justice Department under the Trump administration, which begins on January 20, will continue defense of the regulation.


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