U.S. health agency reverses Obamacare transgender protections

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule on Friday that would lift anti-discrimination protections under Obamacare for transgender people and women seeking abortions, drawing condemnation from Democratic lawmakers.

The rule reverses some provisions of the Affordable Care Act passed during President Barack Obama’s administration, that extended civil rights protections in healthcare to cover areas including gender identity and the termination of a pregnancy.

LGBTQ rights groups, Democratic lawmakers and Democratic-controlled states have decried efforts under the administration of Republican President Donald Trump to erode protections for LGBTQ citizens. One group said it planned to sue the administration over the new rule.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the decision a “shocking attack on the health and well-being of countless vulnerable communities, including women, LGBTQ individuals, and people of color.”

Trump's likely opponent in November, former Vice President Joe Biden, noted that the ruling came on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting and in the middle of pride month, adding, "Donald Trump's cruelty truly knows no bounds."