Federal Judge Rejects Protections for Trans People and Women


As twelve o’clock approached on New Year’s Eve, while revelers saluted the passing year with middle fingers and plastic flutes of Andre, 2016 delivered one last blow to the rights of women and LGBTQ people. US District Judge Reed O’Connor issued an injunction against a provision of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which forbade doctors from discriminating against transgender patients or women who have previously had abortions. O’Connor, the same judge who blocked federal guidelines granting bathroom access for transgender students, cited “religious freedom” as the motive in his ruling.

While Obamacare sought to ban discrimination in healthcare on the basis of “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy,” the Texas judge ruled that treating transgender patients or providing “abortion-related services” places a substantial burden on insurers and hospitals’ “exercise of religion.” In making their case, the plaintiffs cited passages from the Bible where Jesus refused to wash Mary’s feet because of an abortion she received as a teenager and because they smelled.

Additionally, O’Connor obstinately refused to expand the definition of “sex” beyond “binary, biological differences between males and females.”

The case was brought to court by the state of Texas, because of course, along with four other states and several Christian medical associations. The plaintiffs specifically sought out O’Connor because of his history fighting federal protections of transgender people.
With Obama’s remaining days sliding into the lower double-digits, it is uncertain how his administration will respond. For the rest of us, though, there’s still plenty of left-over Andre.

About The Author

Samuel Braslow is an associate editor at FourTwoNine Magazine, and covers current events and politics for the website.

  • Cedar Cat

    Sex is simply a matter of chromosomes, either XX or XY. Sorry, it’s binary.

    Gender is an invented set of stereotypes about how each gender is to behave, dress, and an assigned set of aesthetics for each gender.

    Women’s rights seems to be lost on this publication, as I don’t see a single word of coverage or opinion on the Women’s March, the largest single protest march in the history of our nation.

    Please treat the issues related to sex with respect for the lack of rights and control that women and girls experience due to their sex. The trans community issues are quite different, and we welcome the support of the XY people in the continuing struggle for Equal Rights for Women.

    I also note that within the LGBTQ community, there is and has always been sexism. How many male-only clubs would not allow entry to women, while women-only spaces were shut down by court orders saying men had to be allowed entry. I can count at least 3.

    And how many women including lesbians, stood with the gay male community during the AIDS crisis, and cared for these men, our brothers, while dying? AIDS really didn’t impact the lesbian community, yet women stood up for gay men.

    Where are the gay men marching for Women’s rights? Women’s issues? Issues that really don’t affect them, they do not extend equivalent support.

    Male (XY) voices are the only ones being heard. I think the LGBTQ community might consider healing this great divide with all priority. Yet the emphasis and energy and media is all focused on trans issues, primarily MTF, with or without surgery. In effect, erasing women and girls and ignoring the reality of sex-based discrimination.

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