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ACLU Pushes ‘Equal Healthcare’ for all

August 25, 2019, 8:42 AM HST
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i (ACLU of Hawai‘i) earlier this month urged the United States Department of Health and Human Services not to roll back healthcare protections for transgender people.

In comments submitted objecting proposed changes to the Health Care Rights Law, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the ACLU of Hawai‘i stressed the health consequences for transgender people, those seeking reproductive healthcare including abortion, as well as people of color, people who are disabled, those with limited English proficiency and others.

“Transgender and non-binary people belong in Hawai‘i and we will fight back against any attempts to erase transgender people from our laws,” said Mandy Fernandes, ACLU of Hawai‘i policy director. “The administration wants to take away protections against discrimination, an action that will lead to devastating health consequences.”

Since taking office, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back protections for transgender people in education, the military, prisons, and homeless shelters in addition to healthcare, the ACLU stated in a press release.

On Oct. 8, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments in a case involving Aimee Stephens, who asserts that she was fired because she is transgender. While a federal appeals court and the federal agency in charge of workplace discrimination complaints have said transgender people are protected from discrimination, the United States Department of Justice reversed positions under the Trump administration. However, in both healthcare and employment, the Trump administration cannot erase decades of court decisions saying transgender people are protected under laws prohibiting sex discrimination, the ACLU release contended.

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“Rolling back healthcare protections based on someone’s gender expression is discrimination,” said Joshua Wisch, ACLU of Hawai‘i executive director. “It’s a civil rights violation that will result in unfair burdens on their personal and professional lives, which nobody should have to endure. We encourage people in Hawai‘i to contact their elected officials and express support for nondiscrimination protections in healthcare.”

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