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Nancy Pelosi Calls Trump's Decision on Health Care 'Downright Deadly'

Nancy Pelosi William Barr

Trump's administration expanded religious protections for health care workers, a move that will directly impact LGBTQ people. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out Thursday evening at Donald Trump's new expansion of religious protections for health care workers by calling it "downright deadly" for women and LGBTQ people.

"These bigoted rules are immoral, deeply discriminatory and downright deadly, greenlighting open discrimination in health care against LGTBQ Americans and directly threatening the well-being of millions," Pelosi said in a statement.

Her comment was also aimed at a pending regulation that would undermine the Affordable Care Act's protections against anti-transgender discrimination. Many believe a draft of this regulation may arrive by the end of the week.

"Make no mistake," Pelosi continued, "this is an open license to discriminate against Americans who already face serious, systemic discrimination."

Pelosi says the Democratic-controlled House will "fight" the administration's recent actions.

This latest regulation, known as the "conscience rule ,will guarantee that religious and conscience protections that are already on the books can't be ignored.

"We are giving these laws life with this regulation," said Roger Severino, head of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights, after the regulation was announced. He argues that this is no different from civil rights statutes enforced in daily life.

"It makes sure Congress' protections are not merely empty words on paper," he continued.

However, civil rights advocates have long feared that the new rule will allow those marginally involved in providing health care to opt out because of religious objections, therefore making it more difficult for patients to receive care.

This means the rule will severely affect LGBTQ people living in rural areas where there are few health care options, along with people seeking reproductive health care.

And the rule is not shy about suggesting that this is a very likely outcome.

"People do not have to shed their religious beliefs to participate in health care," Severino said in his statement explaining the rule's implications, adding that "certain medical professions such as OB-GYN should not be declared pro-life-free zones."

As HHS continues to make structural changes to health care for all Americans, the Trump administration has signaled that this will be an ongoing theme for the months to come.

On Wednesday, his administration filed a brief in a federal appeals court arguing that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and should be struck down.

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