The Biden administration has reversed a Trump-era policy that allowed healthcare providers to discriminate against LGBTQ people if they claimed a religious exemption.
The move will reinstate Obamacare guidance and expand them to include the recent Supreme Court ruling that sex discrimination includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
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“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,“ the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Everyone – including LGBTQ people – should be able to access healthcare, free from discrimination or interference, period.”
The Trump administration claimed protections against sex discrimination only extended to “male or female as determined by biology.” But just three days after the rule was announced, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that the ban on discrimination “because of sex” in Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes anti-LGBTQ discrimination when it comes to employment. The landmark victory has affected how a broad array of anti-discrimination protections apply to LGBTQ people.
The change was part of a larger Trump administration program of rolling back protections for LGBTQ people enacted in the Obama administration. Other departments – including the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development – also rolled back LGBTQ protections during the Trump administration, allowing more discrimination against homeless transgender people and trans students.
Those protections have also been restored by the Biden administration.
“The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation,” Becerra said.