On June 11, the Trump administration announced plans to roll back health care protections for transgender patients. The Department of Health and Human Services released its statement in the middle of Pride Month, on the four-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, and on the heels of the murders of two Black transgender women.
The decision, which also comes amid the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic, changes Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and will enforce the nondiscrimination clause "by returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology," according to the official statement.
In 2016, former President Barack Obama’s administration extended protections that "prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities" to include trans people.
However, the updated regulation has completely reversed the Obama-era rule, meaning that it will make it easier for doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies to deny care or coverage for trans patients without any legal repercussions.
Many LGBTQ organizations reacted to the news, explaining why this new regulation could have significant ramifications on the trans community.
The policy shift is set to go into effect by mid-August, but the timing of its finalization makes the announcement even more devastating, as it marks the four-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, which claimed the lives of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016.
The Human Rights Campaign announced plans to sue the Trump administration. According to a new statement, the organization "will not let this attack on our basic right to be free from discrimination in health care go unchallenged."
Originally Appeared on Glamour