President Trump just made his move and followed through on a key campaign promise to reverse an Obama regulation that redefined a person’s sex.
The Department of Health and Human Services just announced a rule to terminate an Obama-administration policy that had redefined “sex” to include “gender identity.
With Trump’s new rule that regulation is reversed and “sex” refers only to biological sex.
Enter Susan Collins: “The Trump Administration‘s decision to eliminate protections for transgender patients is simply wrong,” she said.
“I’ll work to overturn this discriminatory policy,” she promised.
From The National Review:
Section 1557 of Obamacare prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in health-related programs or activities. Near the end of President Obama’s second term, his HHS Department released a regulation redefining “sex” for the purposes of Section 1557 to include “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.”
As a result of the rule that HHS released today, that regulation has been reversed and “sex” once again refers only to biological sex, as was intended in the statute.
In December 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas enjoined Section 1557’s prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and termination of pregnancy. Last fall, the same federal judge vacated the rule, saying that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
As a result of these rulings, HHS no longer could enforce the Obama-era provision, and today’s new rule brings federal policy into compliance with court rulings.
“What this regulatory reform does is update the books to reflect the reality that ‘gender identity’ and ‘termination of pregnancy’ have been deemed unlawful interpretations of civil-rights law,” Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, told National Review. “This final rule is merely conforming to that legal reality.”
Severino noted, too, that the new HHS rule “carries forward the Obama administration’s decision not to include ‘sexual orientation’ as a protected category under the definition of sex discrimination.” Some progressive advocates had urged the Obama-era HHS to add “sexual orientation” to its regulation, but it failed to do so.
Opponents of the Obama administration’s regulation had both health-care and religious-freedom concerns about its implications. Because the policy applied to any health programs or activities funded or administered by HHS, as well as any plans offered in Obamacare’s health-insurance marketplaces, it affected a huge number of health-care providers in the U.S.
By redefining “sex,” the policy required medical professionals to treat biological males who identify as women, and biological women who identify as men, according to their gender identity rather than their biological sex — a practice that can lead to improper health-care decisions.