Connect with us

News

White House won’t comment on HHS proposal to nix rule for trans health

Obama-era provision barred discrimination based on gender identity

Published

on

transgender, caduceus, medicare, gay news, Washington Blade, health, gender reassignment
Transgender Center of Excellence, gender dysphoria, transgender, caduceus, medicare, gay news, Washington Blade, health

The White House won’t comment on a proposed HHS plan to nix a rule for trans health.

The White House has declined to comment on recent indications the Trump administration is set to undo an Obama-era rule barring medical providers from refusing service to transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery.

The Washington Blade sought to ask White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about the proposed reversal Monday during the daily briefing, but the spokesperson didn’t call on the Blade for a question, nor did any other reporter ask about the issue following a report on the development in the New York Times.

In response to an email request for more information, the White House referred the Washington Blade to HHS, which didn’t respond to a request for comment. OMB also didn’t respond to the Blade’s request for information.

The Obama-era rule interpreted Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which bars discrimination in health care on the basis of sex, to bar refusal of service to transgender people based on their gender identity, including the denial of transition-related care such as gender reassignment surgery.

As the Times first reported, the U.S. Justice Department noted in a filing last week in a lawsuit challenging the rule the Department of Health & Human Services “had submitted a draft of a proposed rule” for review to the White House Office of Management & Budget. The OMB website reveals it’s considering a proposed rule related to “non-discrimination in health programs and activities.”

Although the Justice Department filing doesn’t explicitly say the pending proposal would undo the Obama-era rule, that seems likely based on the decision to file it in a lawsuit challenging the provision and the history of the Trump administration.

The Trump administration has already declared federal law barring discrimination on the basis of sex doesn’t apply to cases of transgender discrimination in education and employment. The Education and Justice Departments rolled back Obama-era guidance requiring schools to allow transgender kids to use the restrooms consistent with their gender identity. Additionally, the Justice Department reversed a memo from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder finding Title VII of Civil Rights of 1964 prohibits anti-trans discrimination in the workforce.

The Justice Department filing indicates the proposed rule change will be published in the Federal Register and made available for public comment — but says nothing about timing for when that will happen.

The Obama-era rule is currently moot in any event. Last last year, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued an injunction barring the U.S. government from enforcing the rule as a result of litigation filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Roger Severino, an anti-trans scholar at the Heritage Foundation-turned-director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS, cited the court ruling in an interview with the New York Times as evidence it’s time to re-examine the rule.

“The court held that the regulation’s coverage of gender identity and termination of pregnancy was contrary to law and exceeded statutory authority, and that the rule’s harm was felt by health care providers in states across the country, so a nationwide injunction was appropriate,” Severino is quoted as saying. “The court order is binding on HHS, and we are abiding by it.”

Despite this court order — and even if the Trump administration were to reverse the underlying rule — transgender people could still sue medical providers in court based on the underlying law in the Affordable Care Act that prohibits discrimination in health care on the basis of sex. A growing number of courts are interpreting laws against sex discrimination to apply to LGBT people regardless of the views of the Trump administration.

David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, criticized the Trump administration in a statement.

“No health care provider should be able to turn someone away because of their gender identity,” Stacy said. “[Trump’s] plans to eliminate the regulations spelling out these crucial non-discrimination protections is unconscionable.”

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

Two arrested for lesbian couple’s murder, dismemberment in Mexico border city

Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez killed earlier this month

Published

on

From left: Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez</strong. (Photo via Facebook)

Two people have been arrested in connection with the murder and dismemberment of a lesbian couple in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez.

The Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday announced authorities arrested a 25-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man and charged them with aggravated femicide.

Authorities on Jan. 16 found the dismembered body parts of Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez in plastic bags that had been placed along the Juárez-El Porvenir Highway. The Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office in a press release notes the suspects murdered Ramírez and Medina in a house in Ciudad Juárez’s San Isidro neighborhood on Jan. 15.

Ciudad Juárez, which is located in Mexico’s Chihuahua state, is across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

Members of Comité de la Diversidad Sexual de Chihuahua, a local LGBTQ rights group, and Chihuahua Gov. María Eugenia Campos Galván are among those who have expressed outrage over the women’s murders. Activists have also urged local and state authorities to investigate whether the murder was a hate crime based on Ramírez and Medina’s sexual orientation.

Local media reports said nine women — including Ramírez and Medina — were killed in Ciudad Juárez from Jan. 1-15.

Continue Reading

Virginia

Va. Senate subcommittee tables anti-transgender student athlete bill

Virginia Beach Republican introduced SB 766

Published

on

transgender, Gender Conference East, trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia Senate subcommittee on Thursday tabled a bill that would have banned transgender students from joining school sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

Senate Bill 766, which state Sen. Jennifer Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) introduced on earlier this month, would have required “each elementary or secondary school or a private school that competes in sponsored athletic events against such public schools to designate athletic teams, whether a school athletic team or an intramural team sponsored by such school, based on biological sex as follows: (i) ‘males,’ ‘men,’ or ‘boys’; (ii) ‘females,’ ‘women,’ or ‘girls’; or (iii) ‘coed’ or ‘mixed.’”

“SB 766 (trans sports ban) was passed by indefinitely (it died!) after a long line of speakers testified against it, affirming trans students’ rights to participate in sports just like their cisgender peers,” tweeted the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia after the vote. “Trans students belong in sports. Period.”

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin during his campaign said he does not support allowing trans children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

The General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began on Jan. 12 with Republicans in control of the House of Delegates. Democrats still control the Senate by a 21-19 margin.

A bill that would have eliminated the requirement that school districts implement the Virginia Department of Education’s trans and non-binary student guidelines died in a Senate subcommittee on Thursday. The Senate General Laws and Technology on Thursday also tabled a religious freedom measure that would have undermined Virginia’s LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination law.

Continue Reading

Virginia

Two anti-LGBTQ bills die in Va. Senate

Democrats maintain 21-19 majority in chamber

Published

on

The Virginia Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Two anti-LGBTQ bills died in the Virginia Senate on Thursday.

A Senate Education subcommittee voted against state Sen. Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell County)’s Senate Bill 20, which would have eliminated the requirement that school districts must implement the Virginia Department of Education’s transgender and non-binary student guidelines.

The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee in an 8-7 vote tabled state Sen. Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg)’s Senate Bill 177, a religious freedom measure that critics contend would have allowed anti-LGBTQ discrimination in housing.

Virginia’s statewide nondiscrimination law includes sexual orientation and gender identity. Peake’s bill would have removed “the provision of the exemption for religious organizations under the Virginia Fair Housing Law that denies such exemption where the membership in such religion is restricted on account of race, color, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or disability.”

The General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began on Jan. 12 with Republicans in control of the House of Delegates. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin took office three days later.

Democrats, who maintain a 21-19 majority in the state Senate, have vowed to block any anti-LGBTQ bill.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular