Trump team wants to let doctors deny health care to 1 in 4 women


A new draft rule from the Trump administration opens the door to doctors discriminating against millions of women and the transgender community.

The Trump administration opened a new front in its war against health care, this time attacking the rights of women and the transgender community.

A new draft rule released Friday morning by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would allow doctors, nurses, and hospitals to deny service to transgender individuals as well as women who have had an abortion.

The draft rule focuses on the definition of sex discrimination in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. President Obama's administration wrote a rule prohibiting discrimination against transgender people or against anyone who had opted to terminate a pregnancy. That rule was blocked from going into effect based on a lawsuit brought by several GOP-led states, however, and the Trump administration announced its intention to change the rule shortly after Trump took power.

The Trump administration took a pro-discrimination stance, with Roger Severino, HHS director of the Office for Civil Rights, saying that "discrimination on the basis of sex does not include gender identity or termination of pregnancy."

According to the Guttmacher Institute, roughly one in four women will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old, meaning millions of women could face discrimination in seeking health care under Trump's proposed rule.

The draft rule was met with immediate condemnation by those fighting for equal access to health care.

"If permitted, this rule will promote ignorance and hate that no American should have to face while seeking care," Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Washington Post.

"HHS should be in the business of ensuring that people get the health care they need, not providing excuses for providers and insurers to turn people away," Diana Flynn, the litigation director for Lambda Legal, told the Post.

This draft rule is only the latest attack on the transgender community from Republicans and the Trump administration.

Earlier this week, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson released a rule allowing homeless shelters to discriminate against transgender individuals. And in April, the Trump administration introduced a draft rule allowing doctors citing a "moral or religious objection" to refuse to treat transgender people. And Trump ordered a bigoted military ban that denies transgender individuals the opportunity to serve in the military.

Last week, 173 House Republicans voted against the Equality Act, a bill designed to outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.

And while Trump pushes this new attack on women's health, Republicans in state legislatures across the country are introducing draconian laws that would make it a crime for women to safely end a pregnancy and force underage girls to give birth to their rapist's child. And Republicans in Congress are actually defending these horrific measures.

"By proposing to roll back critical protections that prevent discrimination against transgender people and people who have had abortion care, the Trump-Pence administration would — again — put their health and well-being at risk," said Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Health care is a human right for all, and no one should be denied that right because of who they are."

The Trump administration is also launching even broader attacks on access to health care. Trump's legal team is fighting in court to strike down the entire ACA, including popular provisions that protect people with preexisting conditions from paying higher health care costs or being denied health insurance altogether.

While that battle continues in court, the Trump administration is determined to chip away at health care protections in other ways — and focusing its energy on attacking women and the transgender community.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.