Democrats rip Trump rollback of LGBTQ protections amid Pride Month

Democrats tore into President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE after the White House finalized a rule that would roll back protections implemented under the Obama administration that prevented discrimination in health care based on one’s gender identity. 

The Democrats noted that the decision comes during Pride Month and on the fourth anniversary of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Florida. It also coincides with spiking coronavirus cases across the country, with advocates saying the pandemic has fueled the need for more readily available health coverage.

“How cruel do you have to be to announce a roll back of health protections for transgender Americans in the middle of a global pandemic, in the middle of #PrideMonth, and on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting?!” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMeadows: 'I'm not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term' on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE (D-N.Y.) tweeted on Friday. 

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“The Occupant & his Administration are actively fanning the flames of hate, dismantling anti-discrimination protections in the middle of a global health pandemic that is disproportionately impacting Black & Brown communities. Shameful,” tweeted Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyStimulus checks debate now focuses on size, eligibility Tlaib opens up about why she hasn't endorsed Biden yet Is Ilhan Omar one and done? Why she could lose the August primary MORE (D-Mass.). “This decision is a direct attack on the right to health care for trans and nonbinary people across our country. In the middle of #Pride month no less. Unconscionable.”

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A wave of other Democrats panned the White House, with Rep. Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonRepublicans face worsening outlook in battle for House Ocasio-Cortez rejects Yoho apology as disingenuous Democratic lawmakers launch 'Mean Girls'-inspired initiative to promote face masks MORE (Va.) saying the administration “is putting lives at risk.”

“For my nonbinary child and for every LGBTQ+ person, we must reverse this rule,” added Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalMatt Stoller: Big tech House grilling the most important hearing on corporate power since the 1930s Hillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence Five takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs MORE (D-Wash.), the co-chairwoman of the House Progressive Caucus. “The Trump administration's cruelty knows no bounds. We have no choice but to reaffirm that our commitment to fighting back knows no bounds too.” 

The avalanche of criticism came after the Department of Health and Human Services announced the government's interpretation of sex discrimination will be based on "the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology."

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Religious institutions have long said the Trump administration needs to reinforce their right not to provide treatment that is against their beliefs, and the rule has been in development for over a year.

The protections were first implemented under the previous administration when Obama officials made it illegal for doctors, hospitals and other health care workers to deny care to someone whose sexual orientation or gender identity they disapproved of. The rule was implemented by expanding the health law's definition of sex discrimination to include gender identity for the first time in history.

However, the Trump administration’s rollback expands beyond the bounds of the Obama-era rule by curtailing protections from other health provisions as well, removing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 10 existing regulations, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.