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Federal judge temporarily blocks Biden's transgender health care rule

The Department of Health and Human Services seeks to include the expanded definition of sex discrimination in health care.

Two children play with the trans and LGBT flags.

(Pexels-Lisett Kruusimäe)

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This Wednesday, a federal judge issued an order temporarily blocking, nationwide, a new rule from the Biden administration. This rule intended to ensure that neither insurers nor medical professionals could deny transgender people access to hormone therapies, gender transition surgeries and other types of medical care.

The regulation in question is a update to Title IX that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had planned to incorporate into the Affordable Care Act. The goal of the law was to expand the definition of sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the health care setting.

However, the rule, which was scheduled to take effect Friday, will be temporarily blocked following a ruling by Federal District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. In his ruling, Guirola determined that the plaintiffs in the rule demonstrated that "there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claims."

The lawsuit, filed in June, was pushed by 15 GOP-led states, including Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. These states argued that the rule violates their state health regulations by imposing a gender interpretation that exceeds the established legal framework.

Also, the states allege that implementation of this rule puts billions of dollars in federal funds at risk and constitutes a "gender ideology" imposed by HHS.

"Injecting gender identity into our state's medical system is a dangerous political strategy by the Biden Administration. Medical professionals should not be forced to perform gender transition surgeries or administer medications against their discretion and hospitals should not be prohibited from offering female-only spaces to patients," Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch laid out.

Title IX Defeats

The Guirola decision is the latest in a string of legal defeats for the Biden administration over its interpretation of Title IX. In June, Judge Terry Doughty in Louisiana blocked the rule in four states, calling it an "abuse of power" and arguing that it subverted the original purpose of Title IX, which is to protect biological women from educational discrimination.

A week later, Judge Danny Reeves extended the block to six other states, criticizing the new interpretations of Title IX as a threat to free speech, especially as it relates to pronouns and gender identity.

More recently, Judge John Broomes of the U.S. District Court of Kansas issued an order granting an additional block in four states. Broomes argued that the term "sex" in Title IX referred exclusively to biology and that the Biden administration's rule altered the original legislative intent of the law.