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Doctors Can Now Legally Refuse Transgender Patients And Women Who've Had Abortions
Doctors can now refuse to treat you if you have had pregnancy terminated or had a gender reassignment surgery.
Perhaps what was most worrisome was that Reed O' Connor found such a non-discriminatory law to be discrimination against those doctor's and insurance companies who consider gender transition and pregnancy termination to be 'evil'. This judgment marked as an extreme example of the conservative court's questionable logic behind the Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby decision, which supports their rhetoric that professionals have the right to discriminate against patients which trumps the patients' right to safe treatment.
The Affordable care Act prohibits any discrimination in healthcare based on gender and sexual orientation, which the DHHS ( Department of Health and human Services) has interpreted to include gender identity and abortion. The recent judgment however, clearly stereotyped gender as well as discriminated women who have had abortions based on stereotypes about female sexuality and maternity.
Criminalizing pregnancy termination and gender transition
For Judge O'Connor however, the only gender discrimination acknowledged is if there is hostility against a man or a woman for being man or women. He declared that doctors should not be forced to treat those they may see as 'material co-operation with evil'.
The Department of Health and Human Services had intended to enforce the non-discriminatory law of Affordable Care Act, starting from January 1st however Texas and several other conservative states' religiously associated medical groups sued against it. The plaintiffs argued that the ruling would legally compel doctors to perform procedures like gender transition surgeries and pregnancy cancellations even if they are against their judgment.
What the ACA rule actually meant
Judge O'Connor agreed that the ruling that required medical professionals to perform gender reassignment surgery and abortion would infringe on their religious freedom rights. However, the problem is that the ACA rule doesn't actually require doctors to perform the above mentioned surgeries.
The non-discriminatory ACA rule simply states that any individual should not be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or subjected to discrimination against any health program which is receiving federal funding service.
Even if the regulation did require doctors to perform pregnancy terminations, many believe that such enforcement would be for good. Financially backward women and those living in rural or remote areas already have a limited access to regular health care much less abortive care.
The Center for reproductive rights wrote a letter to the Obama administration in 2015, describing that finding an abortive care provider without religious objection would prevent women from receiving necessary care. The letter illustrated that experiences has showed religious exemptions , deters patients from receiving proper care in general but reproductive services in particular are greatly impacted.