A federal court on Wednesday blocked
the Trump administration's plan to eliminate transgender protections
in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
Whitman-Walker Clinic v. HHS is
one of several legal challenges to the Department of Health and Human
Services' (HHS) reversal of an Obama-era regulation that expanded the
definition of sex as it relates to discrimination in health care to
include gender identity. HHS's new rule defines sex as “determined
Plaintiffs in the case are represented
by Lambda Legal.
Judge James E. Boasberg of the US
District Court for the District of Columbia granted Lambda Legal's
request for a preliminary injunction, blocking key aspects of HHS'
“[T]he court enjoined the rule's
elimination of the definition of discrimination on the basis of sex
and the rule's incorporation of Title IX's religious exemption,”
Lambda Legal wrote in a release. “The court also held that the
broad coalition of plaintiffs Lambda Legal represents has standing to
challenge most aspects of the rule.”
In granting the injunction, Boasberg
wrote: “[D]enying an injunction would impede the public interest by
threatening the health of LGBTQ individuals at large, some of whom
will likely develop increasingly acute conditions on account of their
delaying necessary care or refraining from transparent communication
with providers out of fear of discrimination. There is clearly a
robust public interest in safeguarding prompt access to health care.
The COVID-19 pandemic only reinforces the importance of that public
interest and the concomitant need to ensure the availability and
provision of care on a nondiscriminatory basis.”
Lambda Legal said that the rule is
“unlawful and endangers people's lives.”
“This administration’s health care
discrimination rule is just another example of its disdain for LGBTQ
lives and the law,” Lambda Legal attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said.
“The rule is unlawful and endangers people’s lives, plain and
Last month, a
federal judge ruled against the Trump administration in a separate
case challenging the rule. U.S. District Judge Frederic Block
cited the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Bostock, which
expanded the definition of sex in federal law to include gender
identity, in his ruling.