New regulation would strip protections for LGBTQ people from health care programs to enable religious discrimination

New regulation would strip protections for LGBTQ people from health care programs to enable religious discrimination
Image by Markus Naujoks from Pixabay

A proposed new regulation would strip all protections for LGBTQ people from all programs administered by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and give special rights to entities or programs that are religious or “faith-based.” HHS, under the direction of Secretary Alex Azar, has a budget of $1.2 trillion affecting the health and well-being, directly or indirectly, of nearly every person in the country.


Lambda Legal says the proposed rule “would invite HHS grantees receiving taxpayer funds to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.”

While reportedly drafted to focus on adoption and foster care organizations, the Human Rights Campaign also says the proposed rule would extend far beyond those entities to all programs that receive funding from HHS.

“The Trump-Pence White House has proposed a horrific federal regulation that would permit discrimination across the entire spectrum of HHS programs receiving federal funding,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “This would permit discrimination against LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and women in programs related to foster care, adoption, HIV and STI prevention, youth homelessness, refugee resettlement, elder care programs and more. It is unconscionable that the Trump-Pence administration would prioritize advancing discrimination over the wellbeing of vulnerable people and expect taxpayers to foot the bill for their discriminatory policies. The Trump-Pence White House is relying on the same flawed legal reasoning they’ve used in the past to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people and other communities.”

The Washington Blade, noting the proposed regulation “will have far-reaching implications,” reports the proposal would “undo an Obama-era policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation among federal grantees.”

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) the Blade says “the rule will allow anti-trans discrimination in HIV and STI prevention programs, opioid programs, youth homelessness services, health professional training, substance-use recovery programs and other life-saving services.”

“The proposal seeks to gut an Obama-era rule that barred entities receiving money under federal contracts, including adoption agencies, from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.”

HHS is reportedly granting only 30 days for public comment and review.

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