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Biden Transgender Rule Blocked By Court

ADH Staff WriterJuly 4, 2024

A U.S. judge on Wednesday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a new healthcare rule that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity while he considers a lawsuit filed by 15 Republican-led states.

The rule, finalized in May by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was set to take effect on Friday. It stipulates that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) ban on sex discrimination also applies to transgender individuals.

The states challenging the rule argue that it would force their Medicaid programs to cover treatments such as hormones and surgeries for transgender people, including minors. Many Republican states have enacted laws banning such treatments, often referred to as gender-affirming care, for minors.

The rule impacts recipients of federal funds, including Medicaid programs, and aligns with executive orders issued by President Joe Biden in 2021 and 2022 to protect transgender people from discrimination.

Senior U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, based in Gulfport, Mississippi, issued a preliminary order on Wednesday indicating that the Republican states are likely to succeed in their challenge. Guirola stated that the administration overstepped its authority by interpreting “sex” in the federal law to include gender identity.

“Today a federal court said no to the Biden administration’s attempt to illegally force every healthcare provider in America to adopt the most extreme version of gender ideology,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said in a statement. Skrmetti led the lawsuit with Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch. The states opposing the rule include Georgia, Ohio, and Virginia.

In a separate decision on Wednesday, another federal judge ruled in favour of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s similar challenge to the rule. U.S. District Judge William Jung in Tampa limited his order to Florida, stating that nationwide rulings by judges in a single federal district should be rare exceptions, not routine.

These rulings follow a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that curbed federal agencies’ power by ruling that courts must no longer defer to their interpretation of ambiguous laws.

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