Judge Rules Doctors Can Deny Care To Women Who Have Had Abortions

by
Lauren Harwyn
A Texas judge has ruled that doctors may deny care to transgender patients and women who have had abortions if they don't want to treat them for religious reasons.

Separation between the church and government seems constantly under threat in Texas and other conservative states, but this latest ruling from United States District Judge Reed O’Connor takes the problem to a whole new level.

Slate reported on the new ruling, which allows medical doctors to deny care to patients if they personally disagree with the patient's gender identity or history with abortion on the basis of their religion.

O'Connor took issue with the nondiscrimination portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prevents health care providers from discriminating against women who have had abortions and transgender Americans.

O'Connor stated that "Plaintiffs claim the Rule’s interpretation of sex discrimination pressures doctors to deliver healthcare in a manner that violates their religious freedom and thwarts their independent medical judgment and will require burdensome changes to their health insurance plans on January 1, 2017."

The plaintiffs in question include Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has filed more than a dozen suits against the ACA introduced by President Barack Obama's administration claiming the act threatens the "constitutional rights of Texans." The Huffington Post explains that Paxton specifically chose O'Connor's court to get the discriminatory ruling he desired because of O'Connor's history with another transphobic bill.

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O'Connor previously made a ruling that has been instrumental in banning the federal government from implementing nationwide protections for transgender students.

"O’Connor held that treating transgender patients — and even insuring transgender patients — 'substantially burdens' insurance companies and hospitals’ 'exercise of religion,'" says Slate.

They also reported that the ACA actually did not require doctors to provide or insurance companies to pay for abortions in the first place, and that O'Connor obfuscated that fact to get his predatory ruling through. 

What this ruling will mean for the health of women and transgender Texans remains to be seen, but the fact that two people with as much power as the attorney general and district judge are fighting so hard in favor of blatant discrimination against marginalized people is extremely shameful and concerning.

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Banner Image Credit: Reuters, Ilana Panich

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