On Thursday, the Trump administration released a final ruling that will allow health workers to refuse to perform or assist with medical procedures, such as abortion, assisted suicide, or sex reassignment surgery, if they object on religious or moral grounds. The new rule protects discrimination based on “conscience” or “religious beliefs.
What the new ruling really does is greatly limits women, the transgender community, and the critically ill’s access to healthcare.
The new ruling will take effect in 60 days, and it does apply to healthcare facilities that receive federal funding. Trump has repealed Obama’s discrimination protection rule. Trump’s ignores the needs of the individual seeking medical care and focuses solely on protecting “providers, individuals, and other health care entities from having to provide, participate in, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for, services such as abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide.”
“The rule is primarily concerned with enforcing existing civil rights protections to apply specifically to discrimination based on religious beliefs”, Roger Severino, head of HHS’s Office for Civil Rights said.
“Currently, as with every other civil rights statute, we require that entities that receive grants from HHS will not discriminate on the basis [of race or gender]” Severino added. “To that, we are adding religious belief and conscience … Saying you are going to comply is a contract with the government.”
The new rule is set up so if a worker complains to the OCR about discrimination from their employer and it can be proven that the employer violated the rule, then they could lose their federal funding.
Severino shares that “under the Obama administration, HHS received only about one or two complaints from health professionals saying they were discriminated against for not performing or assisting with procedures that violated their moral or religious beliefs, but that in the past fiscal year, since the introduction of the OCR’s Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, HHS had received over 300 of these complaints.”
LGBT and abortion rights activists state that Trump’s new rule will only make it more difficult for people who have decided abortion is there a best option or seek sex reassignment procedures to obtain that care especially for individuals living in rural areas.
This new rule will allow health care providers to deny Trans individuals hormone therapy, hysterectomies, orchiectomies, and other transition-related services. Trump’s new rule will make transitioning or seeking healthcare much more difficult for transgender people and there is no doubt that this is Trump’s true intentions with this new rule.
Of course, anti-abortion organizations and social conservatives were quick to praise the new ruling. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List states that the rule fulfilled “a key promise to pro-life voters.”
Transgender people have struggled tirelessly for recognition of their basic human rights, and now they are forced to fight back against what could easily be seen as government sanctioned erasure. They are legally being attacked from all sides from access to bathrooms and healthcare to enlistment in the military.
Trump and his administration are trying to redefine sex, for the purpose of enforcing federal sex discrimination protections, as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”
“The Trump administration is effectively abandoning our right to equal access to health care, to housing, to education, or to fair treatment under the law. Community activists rallied nationwide, proclaiming that trans people would “not be erased,” states the National Center for Transgender Equality.
The government should have no say in what we do with our bodies…not ever. Being able to make our own decisions about our health, body and sexual life is a basic human right.