Federal judge rules that requiring companies to cover HIV prevention drug violates their religious rights
A federal judge with a lengthy history of deciding against LGBTQ people and in favor of the far Christian right has ruled the Affordable Care Act and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services cannot require companies to cover the cost of an HIV prevention drug referred to as PrEP.
The plaintiffs sued the federal government claiming their business is a “Christian for-profit corporation” that “objects” to “coverage of preventive care such as contraceptives and PrEP drugs” on “religious grounds.” The plaintiffs, the lawsuit also says, “claim that compulsory coverage for those services violates their religious beliefs by making them complicit in facilitating homosexual behavior, drug use, and sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman.”
HIV is not exclusive to people who engage in same-sex intimate relations, drug use, or sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor (photo) of Texas, who ruled in 2018 that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, on Wednesday declared the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services “did not provide any ‘compelling’ evidence to argue that ‘private, religious corporations’ should be required to cover HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, commonly known as PrEP, ‘with no cost-sharing and no religious exemptions,'” as Axios reports.
“O’Connor said HHS was unable to show that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for HIV PrEP to be fully covered by insurance ‘furthers a compelling governmental interest.'”
Judge O’Connor in 2019 also overturned protections written into ObamaCare for transgender people, ruling they violate the religious rights of healthcare providers who hold religious beliefs that oppose the existence of transgender people.
Three years earlier, in 2016 O’Connor who at that point already had a record of opposing LGBT rights, handed down a 38-page order in a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on behalf of 13 states, blocking the Obama administration from enforcing its guidance that said public schools should allow transgender students to use restroom and locker rooms based on their gender identity.
On the very last day of 2016 Judge O’Connor ruled that physicians could refuse to treat transgender people based on their own religious beliefs. That injunction also came in response to a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Paxton.
Last year Judge O’Connor ruled that for-profit businesses and religious entities like churches can discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment.
Wednesday’s ruling was a win for Braidwood Management, a Katy, Texas company “which operates Christian health-care businesses controlled by Dr. Stephen Hotze,” Bloomberg Law has reported (incorrectly spelling Hotze’s first name.). Steven Hotze is a far-right Christian extremist, anti-LGBTQ activist, and GOP mega-donor. The Texas Tribune in April reported Hotze “was indicted on two felony charges related to his alleged involvement in an air conditioning repairman being held at gunpoint in 2020 during a bizarre search for fraudulent mail ballots that did not exist, according to his attorney, Gary Polland.”
- Right-wing host and 'Demon Seed' doctor call for 'a law against ... ›
- Dennis Prager claims the unvaccinated are the 'most hated group ... ›
- 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli ordered to return $64 million in profits ... ›
- The Supreme Court’s dangerous abuse of religious exemptions - Alternet.org ›