Thousands of HRC Members Submit Public Comments to HHS’ Attacks on LGBTQ Health

by HRC Staff

More than 4,500 LGBTQ people and allies joined HRC to submit comments about the proposed Trump-Pence administration’s so-called “conscience” regulation at HHS.

More than 4,500 LGBTQ people and allies from every state, including D.C. and Puerto Rico, joined HRC to submit comments about the proposed Trump-Pence administration’s so-called “conscience” regulation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The measure will directly harm LGBTQ people and women by prioritizing physicians’ beliefs over life-saving patient care. If finalized, it would empower health care providers to deny LGBTQ people and women necessary care, and deter healthcare organizations and providers from taking necessary action to guarantee that all patients have access to the care they not only deserve, but are legally entitled to.

We heard from parents of LGBTQ people from across the country, including a mother from McMurray, Pennsylvania, who was "scared to death" about how this would impact her lesbian daughter's health and a father from West Virginia who was "appalled" at the idea of his transgender child being turned away from care.

HRC heard from LGBTQ people in rural areas, like Wamego, Kansas, who said: "It is hard enough to find competent health care, much less worry about the medical provider refusing to provide services based on his or her religious beliefs. I know I've withheld pertinent information regarding my sexuality from my physician, out of fear that he would refuse to retain me as a patient. That sort of fear puts my health very much at risk."

Hundreds from the medical community have also weighed in, including nurses, doctors, mental health providers and pharmacists all saying that health care providers should do their jobs.

HRC heard from social workers and therapists who have worked directly with LGBTQ people denied care and the impact these denials have on both their physical and mental health.

This regulation is designed to harm LGBTQ people and women and places the beliefs of individual healthcare providers over patient well-being. If finalized, this regulation will undoubtedly empower healthcare providers to deny care while also bullying hospitals and organizations into compromising patient care to avoid unfounded, but costly complaints.

This week, Democrats in both the House and Senate submitted comment letters detailing strong objections to the HHS proposal allowing providers to refuse patients care.