The rule change will allow federally funded health programmes to discriminate against LGBT+ people. (Envato)
The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) has scrapped nondiscrimination protections for LGBT+ people in federally funded health programmes, effective immediately.
In a rule change announced on Friday (November 1), health programmes receiving grants from HSS will no longer have to abide by nondiscrimination guidelines protecting LGBT+ people. The Trump administration changed the rule in the name of “religious freedom”.
The announcement from HHS said: “The proposed rule represents the Trump Administration’s strong commitment to the rule of law―the Constitution, federal statutes, and Supreme Court decisions.
“These require that the federal government not infringe on religious freedom in its operation of HHS grant programs.”
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, the rule change will impact “all discretionary and non-discretionary grants across the Department.”
It said in a press release: “The rule will allow anti-transgender discrimination in HIV and STI prevention programs, opioid programs, youth homelessness services, health professional training, substance use recovery programs, and many other life-saving services addressing crises with a disparate impact on transgender people in the US.”
It added on Twitter that the rule will also “eliminate the requirement that federally-funded organizations treat same-sex marriages as valid”.
Mara Keisling, executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, added: “This rule is an abuse of taxpayer dollars in the name of empowering hatred and bigotry towards society’s most vulnerable members.
“Stigma and prejudice are fuelling a public health crisis among transgender people across the country, one that manifests itself as suicide, addiction, intimate partner violence, and HIV.
“Enabling providers of life-saving services to worsen these crises by rejecting transgender people is a moral crime and a severe abdication of HHS’s mission to preserve public health.”
The Center said that because of the rule’s immediate effect, it rules out formal opposition.
The Trump administration has already proposed to roll-back rules protecting LGBT+ people from discrimination under a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This new attack on LGBT+ healthcare will allow LGBT+ discrimination by any and all health providers with government funding.