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Texas judge blocks federal transgender and abortion 'protections,' preserving religious freedom instead

Texas judge blocks federal transgender and abortion 'protections,' preserving religious freedom instead

US District Court Judge Reed O'Connor explained, "Plaintiffs claim the Rule's interpretation of sex discrimination pressures doctors to deliver healthcare in a manner that violates their religious freedom and thwarts their independent medical judgment". O'Connor absurdly wrote: "Plaintiffs will be forced to either violate their religious beliefs or maintain their current policies which seem to be in direct conflict with the Rule and risk the severe consequences of enforcement".

"Today's decision is a setback, but hopefully a temporary one, since all Americans - regardless of their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation - should have access to quality, affordable health care free from discrimination", she said. They are attempting to overturn Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act which bars discrimination by health insurance companies and medial practitioners accepting federal funds.

Unless, of course, it's a constitutional right or a doctor's "best medical judgment" he doesn't agree with, like the right to marriage equality or reproductive decisions. As Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow told the Texas Tribune back in August, the regulation "doesn't force an individual to do anything in particular" but instead clarifies that health care providers can't deny services or insurance to someone because they're transgender.

Under the rule, a health care provider must provide transition-related care, including gender reassignment surgery, to a transgender person if that provider offers a similar service, such as hysterectomies.

"Judge O'Connor's conclusion that transgender people and persons who have had abortions are somehow excepted from protection is deeply troubling, legally specious, and morally repugnant."




Texas, which brought this suit along with four other states and several Christian medical associations, chose O'Connor's court specifically because of his clear opposition to federal rules protecting transgender people.

Paxton's January 1 press release announcing the injunction, claims that "Not only does it require taxpayers to fund all treatments created to transition to a different sex, it also forces health care workers, including physicians, to provide controversial services".

"The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized that sex discrimination takes many forms, and our nation's expansive and unyielding nondiscrimination laws necessarily reach sex discrimination whenever and wherever it strikes", Young said in a statement Saturday.

As Mother Jones' Kevin Drum recently joked, "If you want a local judge to block an Obama initiative and apply his ruling to the entire country, go to Texas". They argued that instead it clarifies that health care providers can not deny services or insurance to someone only because that person is transgender. O'Connor, who was appointed to the bench by former President George W. Bush, agreed.

Earlier this year, O'Connor also issued an injunction halting enforcement of the Obama administration's protections for transgender students in schools.

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