If there’s one thing we can be sure of as Americans, it’s that the Trump administration will go all out to implement the agenda held to by those far right Republicans behind it. They will not be held back by anything — if they can’t enact their agenda one way, they will try another way.
Late last month, the seven year long GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act ground to a halt with a resounding “no” vote from Sen. John McCain on a “skinny repeal” measure. Now, however, the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to cut a key provision of ObamaCare that protects transgender people and women who have had an abortion from discrimination in medical treatment.
This rule was enacted in 2016 and prohibits medical providers from discriminating against individuals for a wide variety of reasons, including gender identity and sex.
Activist groups like the ACLU have not actually seen a proposal to roll back the provision in question as of yet, but they have reason to believe that one is on the horizon. It’s not that hard to see that something like this might be coming — just look, for a recent example, at the president’s tweetstorm asserting that he would no longer be allowing transgender people to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Mind you, that tweetstorm was eventually revealed to be just that — a tweetstorm. There was no actual change in policy underlying the president’s tweets.
When the health care rule was first implemented back in 2016, it was immediately met with a lawsuit from a Christian group that claimed that it impeded their rights. That group — the Franciscan Alliance — won their lawsuit, and a Texas judge instituted a nationwide injunction barring the provisions protecting transgender people and women who have had an abortion from going into effect.
Now, the Department of Justice says they are reviewing a draft rule that would apparently replace the 2016 rule at the center of this controversy. This rule isn’t public yet, and it’s not clear how long the review process will take.
Still, we know what sort of rules the Trump administration has come up with and proposed in the past.
Sasha Buchert, a staff attorney at the non-profit advocacy group Lambda Legal, commented of the developments:
‘We are deeply concerned. DOJ has already shown its hand… [W]e stand ready to respond… I expected them to take more time in deliberating, in the same way the original rule was crafted, rather than crafting something internally and sending it over to DOJ.’
Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU, added:
‘I don’t think they [HHS] are going to have an easy time… and we’ll make sure they hear every objection and justify what they’re doing… This has been something we’ve been raising alarm bells about for a while.’
As mentioned, for now we are basically just in a wait and see period when it comes to the future of this provision. One thing is for certain — Trump has long shown himself not at all as committed to protecting the rights of LGBT people as he claimed to be during the campaign season.