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Biden Administration Reinstates Nondiscrimination Protections in Health Care

Doctor looking at patient in medical room

The US Department of Health and Human Services announced today that it is reversing a Trump-era decision that created sweeping policies that allow discrimination in the name of religious freedom.

“This is an important step forward to ensure that transgender people can go about their lives without fear of discrimination. No one should be denied health care or turned away from other critical services just because they are transgender,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, the executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The Biden-Harris administration continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to equality and fairness.”

The Trump administration misused the Freedom of Religion Restoration Act of 1993 to defend policy changes that allowed discrimination to be justified by citing the free exercise of religion. The reversal of the delegation of authority to the Office of Civil Rights and Administration for Children and Families at HHS will rescind inappropriate and overly broad waivers that allowed discrimination against marginalized people, including transgender people.

“The prior administration used the power of the federal government to greenlight discrimination against transgender people by the federal government and organizations that receive federal funding,” Heng-Lehtinen said. “One of the goals was to create an unnecessary conflict between people of faith and transgender people when we know that there are many people who are members of both communities.”

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