The Austin Chronicle

AG Paxton Files Another Anti-Trans Lawsuit

By Mary Tuma, August 26, 2016, 7:00am, Newsdesk

On an anti-LGBTQ legal rampage, Texas officials have filed yet another anti-transgender federal lawsuit.

Just days after a U.S. district judge granted Attorney General Ken Paxton and 12 other states their wish to temporarily block the Obama administration guidelines that allow transgender students to use the restrooms that align with their gender identity, Paxton doubled down on his anti-trans attack. This week he filed suit to ensure transgender patients aren’t afforded equal protections when it comes to health care.

The lawsuit challenges new U.S. Health and Human Services Department rules that prohibit physicians from denying transgender people health services, including medical transition procedures, under the Affordable Care Act and allow transgender patients to use the facilities that match their gender identity. Paxton called the health care protections “regulatory overreach” and a violation of medical judgment and religious freedom of doctors. “As the Obama Administration has attempted to do in other instances, this new rule interprets 'sex' as a state of mind, not a biological fact,” wrote Paxton, in his continuing failure to accept transgender people as, well, people. In their 79-page suit, plaintiffs defend a doctor’s right to refuse to perform a procedure if he or she feels that it is “ethically questionable and potentially harmful.”

Kentucky, Kansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and three religious nonprofit medical organizations join the suit. Those groups are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, an organization that helped overturn the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby case.

“Attorney General Ken Paxton continues his assault on the very existence of an estimated 1.4 million Americans who are transgender,” said Equality Texas CEO Chuck Smith. “Paxton is now seeking to deny transgender people access to competent medical care. The attorney general needs to stop this assault against an already marginalized population and stop wasting taxpayer money.”

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