Lambda Legal Condemns New Trump Health Care Rule Inviting Discrimination Against LGBTQ People and Women

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May 2, 2019
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Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it will soon issue a new final rule protecting health care providers who refuse to treat LGBTQ people and women and/or trans people seeking reproductive health care, solely on the basis of the providers’ religious or moral objections.

The proposed rule also shields health care providers even if they refuse to give a referral after denying care, regardless of the consequences to the patient, and in violation of medical and ethical requirements and standards of care. The Rule is scheduled to go into effect 60 days after it is published.

“This so-called Conscience Rule is nothing more or less than a government-sanctioned attack on LGBTQ people and on women seeking reproductive health care,” Lambda Legal Interim CEO Richard Burns said.

“LGBTQ people, and especially transgender people, already suffer disproportionate levels of discrimination in health care settings. This Denial of Care Rule protects that discrimination and gives it a governmental blessing. HHS should be in the business of making sure people get the health care they need, not trying to grant health care workers and institutions permission to turn people away.”

“We receive calls to our help desk about, and have represented LGBTQ people who have been turned away when seeking medically necessary and appropriate health care services—simply because of who they are,” Burns added.

“From our case against the southern California clinic that refused to provide a lesbian couple infertility care to the lawsuit against the New Jersey hospital that refused to let a surgeon perform a routine hysterectomy for a transgender patient to the Washington doctor who refused to provide a medical prescription to a gay man--these are the challenges LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV already face and that the Denial of Care Rule will increase still further.”

The proposed regulations invites health care workers, doctors, hospitals and other health care facilities that receive federal funding to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients and people seeking reproductive health care.