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HHS to stop enforcing LGBTQ medical care protections

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WASHINGTON — In a move that will put LGBTQ protections at risk, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department has said it would no longer enforce Obama-era rules requiring providers who receive grants to serve all patients.

The rule change means that the HHS will no longer enforce rules barring anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

“This rule is an abuse of taxpayer dollars in the name of empowering hatred and bigotry towards society’s most vulnerable members,” said Mara Keisling, executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Stigma and prejudice are fueling a public health crisis among transgender people across the country, one that manifests itself as suicide, addiction, intimate partner violence, and HIV. Enabling providers of life-saving services to worsen these crises by rejecting transgender people is a moral crime and a severe abdication of HHS’s mission to preserve public health.”

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 Human Rights Campaign 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.”

According to the HHS, the move is to protect religious freedom.

This is only the latest move by the department to roll back protections for the LGBTQ communities.

In May, the HHS finalized a rule that would allow healthcare providers to deny care due to a “religious exemption.” Two dozen state and local governments sued to overturn the rule.

Also in May, the department signed off on a waiver to allow adoption services in South Carolina to deny adoption to LGBTQ families.

In February, it finalized a regulation intended to push Planned Parenthood out of the Title X federal family planning program, keeping a campaign promise to anti-abortion groups.

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