Third judge vacates anti-LGBTQ denial of care rule

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SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, a federal judge in California struck down the Denial of Care Rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), becoming the third judge in two weeks to vacate the rule.

Lambda Legal said the ruling by U. S. District Court Judge William Alsup was in a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the County of Santa Clara. Similar rulings have already been issued by the judges for the Eastern District of Washington and Southern District of New York.

“That is now three judges in two weeks who have recognized the Denial of Care Rule for what it is, an egregious and unconstitutional attack on women, LGBT people and other vulnerable populations,” said Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Jamie Gliksberg. “In his ruling, Judge Alsup was blistering in his assessment of the Denial of Care Rule, determining that the rule is ‘saturated with error.’ Judge Alsup joins Judge Stanley A. Bastian of the Eastern District of Washington and Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York in vacating this discriminatory and harmful rule, and in likely saving countless lives. The Denial of Care Rule targets some of our most marginalized and vulnerable communities and deserves to be relegated to the dustbin of history.”

In his ruling, Alsup said, “When a rule is so saturated with error, as here, there is no point in trying to sever the problematic provisions. The whole rule must go.”

The Denial of Care Rule, which was issued in May by HHS, invites any health care worker – including doctors, nurses, EMTs, administrators, janitors and clerical staff – to deny medical treatment, information and services to patients because of personal religious or moral beliefs.

Read today’s ruling here. More information about County of Santa Clara v. HHS is available here.

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