A coalition of over 20 state attorneys general are suing Donald Trump in an effort to block a new ruling — set to go into effect next month — that would overturn protections against sex discrimination in health care for trans people. According to the medical professionals, this upcoming measure is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, [and] not in accordance with law.”
“This is one of many actions taken by HHS and other agencies during the Trump Administration to roll back protections for [queer] people,” the Attorneys General write in the 98-page criticism filed with the Southern District of New York’s U.S. District Court.
The suit against Trump was filed on Monday after the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would be rolling back trans-inclusive language listed in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. This section of the law, enacted in 2010, prohibits discrimination based on characteristics such as sex in federally-funded health care centers. In 2016, before leaving office, Obama announced that the interpretation of the law would include gender identity as well. Now, however, the governmental department says it will enforce Section 1557 “according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.”
The original lawsuit was filed by Attorneys General Letitia James of New York, Maura Healey of Massachusetts, and Xavier Becerra of California; however, it has now come to include 22 states and the District of Columbia in total: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
This new interpretation of Section 1557 comes on the heels of a historic ruling in the Supreme Court last month protecting LGBTQ+ people from being fired for discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Hard to believe any President would willingly expose Americans to discrimination in healthcare,” says Becerra, “but that’s what President Trump’s latest rule would do.”