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Democrats rip Trump rollback of LGBTQ protections amid Pride Month

Democrats tore into President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos 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 SchumerSenate panel unanimously advances key Biden cyber nominees Overnight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' 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 PressleyIt's past time we elect a Black woman governor House Republicans introduce resolution to censure the 'squad' Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias 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 WextonLate Capitol Police officer's family urges Congress to agree to Jan. 6 commission Administration withdraws Trump-era proposal to loosen protections for transgender homeless people Trump the X-factor in Virginia governor race 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 JayapalDemocrats shift tone on unemployment benefits Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality White House to Democrats: Get ready to go it alone on infrastructure 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.