A Judge Ruled Doctors Can Refuse to See Patients Who Are Transgender or Had an Abortion
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a strange ruling at the end of 2016. This ruling allows doctors to discriminate against patients who are transgender and women who have had abortions. I guess he thinks those exact things are particularly evil. O’Connor says that the “religious freedom” of doctors are being violated by not allowing them to discriminate.
According to Slate, Texas, where this lawsuit began, brought the case before Judge O’Connor specifically because of his history opposing transgender rights. Rather than just allowing the injunction, the judge went a step further, Slate reports, invoking the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the same rule that allowed the Hobby Lobby case to proceed. Basically, the act claims to protect religious people from doing things that they disagree with based on religious freedom, but what it actually does is puts one identity ahead of another. It allows one group of people to discriminate against and deny the rights of another group of people, which creates an unfair hierarchy. Judge O’Connor ruled not only that doctors can refuse certain people service, but he ruled that it’s even a burden for insurance companies to put transgender people or women who have had abortions on their plans.
As we quickly approach the days of a Trump White House, this ruling becomes even more concerning. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to dismantle the ACA, and it’s still unclear what will happen to the 20 million people who have insurance through the act. With his cabinet’s history of discriminatory laws and positions on LGBTQ rights, this ruling just becomes all the more concerning.