The administration refused to alter its course after the Bostock v. Clayton decision
A federal judge ruled to block Donald Trump’s roll back of trans health care rights. The block was issued one day before the rule, which allowed healthcare providers to discriminate against transgender patients, was to go into effect.
U.S. District Judge Frederic Block, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, pointed to the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, which determined anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.
“The Court reiterates the same practical concern it raised at oral argument when the Supreme Court announces a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and reflect on the decision’s impact,” Block wrote. “Since HHS (Health and Human Services) has been unwilling to take that path voluntarily, the Court now imposes it.”
The move by the Trump administration would have undone a regulation put in place by the administration of former President Barack Obama, which banned sex discrimination in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and applied to cases of anti-trans discrimination. Block also pointed out that the Trump administration made this move before the Supreme Court heard the Bostock case and then refusing to alter its course after the decision was made.
“By its own admission, HHS knew that the case was pending and would have ‘ramifications’; it must also have known that a decision would be handed down before the end of the Supreme Court’s term,” Block wrote. “It then had an (admittedly brief) opportunity to re-evaluate its proposed rules after the case was decided contrary to its expectations.”
Block’s decision came in a lawsuit brought in June by the Human Rights Campaign in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of two transgender women of color, Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker and Cecilia Gentil—both say they were victims of discrimination in health care.
“We are pleased the court recognized this irrational rule for what it is: discrimination, plain and simple,” Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “LGBTQ Americans deserve the health care that they need without fear of mistreatment, harassment, or humiliation.”
There are other lawsuits challenging the Trump HHS rules that are pending. Earlier this month, in Washington D.C., a federal judge indicated he was not likely to grant an injunction to stop a Trump administration change by August 18. Federal district court judges in Manhattan and Seattle struck down an HHS “Denial of Care” rule change recently. It would have allowed health care providers receiving federal funds to cite “religious or moral objections” in order to deny services to certain patients.