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Texas judge issues injunction on Obamacare protections of transgender People

By Cris Valencia / 2017.01.03
A man stops in front of the Stonewall Inn on June 24, 2016 in New York City. President Barack Obama designated Stonewall Inn and approximately 7.7 acres surrounding it as the first national monument dedicated 'to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT r

A Texas judge has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on federal transgender health mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The injunction is in response to the lawsuit filed by the state of Texas on behalf of religious hospital network Franciscan Alliance and four other states, Texas Tribune reported.

The particular provision in question is the Health and Human Services regulation under the ACA that seeks to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The federal judge said that the federal health rule may have violated existing laws.

The plaintiffs said that the federal regulation encroaches on their "religious freedom" under the constitution. They argued that the disputed provision will force doctors to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions regardless of their religious beliefs or medical judgment, Texas Tribune reported.

They claim that the redefinition of the term "sex" under the Federal rule destabilizes decades of settled precedent and imposes undue burden on health care providers. U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor agreed and said that that the rule imposes a substantial burden because it does not include a blanket of exemption based on the religious belief of affiliated health care organizations.

In contrast, transgender rights activists refuted the claim and said that the health rule will not prevent doctors from exercising sound medical judgment. They claim that the only function of the rule is solely to prevent discrimination against a person on account of his gender identity.

HHS spokesperson Marjorie Connolly backed this explanation and said, "Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act is critical to ensuring that individuals, including some of our most vulnerable populations, do not suffer discrimination in the health care and health coverage they receive," Teen Vogue reported.

In the wake of the preliminary injunction, the White House reinforced the notion that all Americans - regardless of gender identity should have access to quality healthcare. The administration has since vowed to request that the injunction be limited solely to the individual plaintiffs of the case.

Learn more about the ruling below:

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