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Judge Halts Trump Admin Health Care Rule Saying Sex Is Determined by Biology

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A federal judge blocked the Trump administration on Monday from enforcing a new regulation on health care protections for transgender people.

Finalized days after the Supreme Court barred discrimination against LGBT individuals on the job, the regulation from the federal Department of Health and Human Services was to have taken effect on Tuesday.

Monday’s preliminary injunction from U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block in Brooklyn bars the administration from enforcing the regulation until the case can be heard in court.

Block indicated he thought the Trump administration’s transgender rule is invalid in light of the Supreme Court ruling in June on a case involving similar issues in the context of job discrimination.

“When the Supreme Court announces a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and reflect on the decision’s impact,” Block wrote in his order.

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“Since HHS has been unwilling to take that path voluntarily, the court now imposes it.”

The HHS rule sought to overturn Obama-era transgender policies.

The Trump administration’s health care rule rests on the idea that sex is determined by biology. The Obama-era version relied on a broader definition shaped by a person’s inner sense of being male, female, neither or a combination.

Judge Block called arguments from HHS “disingenuous” and wrote that the agency acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in enacting it.

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HHS said it was disappointed by the judge’s decision.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it a “victory for the LGBTQ community and the rule of law.”

The judge “was unambiguous in … ruling that the administration’s actions were in blatant violation of the Affordable Care Act’s protections and the Supreme Court’s recent … decision, which affirmed that discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ included sexual orientation and gender identity,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Judge Block was nominated to the federal bench by former President Bill Clinton.

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