A U.S. judge on Monday ruled out a Trump administration directive aiming to strip protections for transgender communities facing prejudices in healthcare. New York-based U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block issued an order that the proposed regulation furnished by the Department of Health and Human Services could not go be put into action on Tuesday as planned.
The administration’s rule states federal law that forbids discrimination in healthcare “on the basis of sex” fails to cover crucial aspects of gender identity or sex stereotyping.
Block said the legality of the directive came under question after the Supreme Court’s major ruling in June discovering that LGBT people are protected under a federal law using similar language that hinders employment discrimination. Following this episode, legal experts were of the view that the ruling could create an impact on other remaining cases involving other federal discrimination laws.
“When the Supreme Court announces a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and reflect on the decision’s impact,” Block wrote in Monday’s ruling.
In 2016, the administration of President Barack Obama had earlier instituted reforms that would have strictly protected LGBT people under the healthcare discrimination provision, which is part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.
The Trump rule, with the sole intention to untwine Obama’s move, was challenged by two transgender women, Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker and Cecilia Gentili, who are represented by LGBT rights group Human Rights Campaign.
“We are pleased the court recognized this irrational rule for what it is: discrimination, plain and simple,” the group’s president Alphonso David said in a statement.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said officials were “disappointed” with the decision.