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US plans rollback of transgender healthcare protections

AFP  |  Washington 

Donald Trump's administration on Friday announced plans to roll back anti-discrimination protections for people in the healthcare system, provoking an outcry from rights groups.

The (HHS) proposed removing a provision of the Affordable Care Act introduced by former in 2016 that defined discrimination "on the basis of sex" to include identity.

identity was defined as whether an individual considered themselves "male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female." But the measure was blocked after several states and sued.

The proposed new rule would define identity in "to conform with the plain understanding recognized by the court," the HHS said.

"When prohibited sex discrimination, it did so according to the plain meaning of the term, and we are making our regulations conform," said of the

The move was slammed by rights groups.

"Nobody should be turned away from medical care, with their health and lives put at risk, because of who they are," the for Equality said in a statement.

According to a 2015 study, nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) of respondents reported that they did not seek the health care they needed in the year prior due to fear of being mistreated.

Louise Melling, with the American Civil Liberties Union, said, "This move by the is nothing less than an act of violence against those whose have historically been ignored, neglected and dismissed."

Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, called on the to reverse its stance, saying it "is endangering transgender people at some of the most vulnerable and life-threatening moments of their lives."

"All Americans, regardless of who they are, deserve respect and access to care and support when they are most in need," she said in a statement.

After HHS makes a proposal, it is opened for a public comment period and is then published in the Federal Register, the official journal that contains government agency rules.

The proposal goes into effect 60 days later.

Last month, the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military came into force, saying the group posed "too great a risk to military effectiveness and lethality.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, May 25 2019. 05:40 IST