Three advocacy groups are suing the Trump Administration over its recent rollback of transgender healthcare protections.
Lambda Legal, Americans United for Separation of Church and States, and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after the agency introduced a new policy allowing healthcare providers to deny care based on religious or moral beliefs.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday (May 28) on behalf of a number of groups, including Trust Women Seattle, The Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists, Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, and more.
LGBTQ legal group Lambda Legal, as well as the other groups, argue the HHS policy would legalize discrimination, particularly against transgender patients and women seeking abortions.
“The Rule specifically invites refusals to provide care to women seeking reproductive healthcare and transgender and gender-nonconforming patients seeking gender-affirming care,” the suit reads, “adversely affecting the healthcare entities that provide reproductive healthcare services and that serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.”
The suit also claims the rule is unconstitutional, as it violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment “because it impermissibly burdens the exercise of patients’ constitutionally protected speech, expression, and expressive conduct based on the content and viewpoint of patients’ speech.”
“The breadth of the harm of this new rule will cause is impossible to exaggerate, and opens up yet another front in the Trump Administration’s assault on civil rights of minorities and already marginalized, vulnerable populations,” said Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Jamie Gliksberg. “This almost limitless invitation to discriminate will inevitably result in women, LGBT people, and religious minorities facing hostile health care workers and denials of medical care at moments of greatest need, where nay delay could be fatal.”
Nancy Northup, the president and CEO of The Center for Reproductive Rights, said the lawsuit was “a matter of life or death.”
“This new policy could threaten anyone seeking medical care in this country but will fall particularly hard on women and LGBTQ patients,” Northup said. “The Trump Administration is skirting Congressional approval to push through this extreme and dangerous policy. It’s a glaring violation of patients’ right to equal treatment.”