Texas court rules anti-LGBTQ+ Christian businesses can refuse life-saving PrEP coverage
A Texas federal judge has ruled to allow PrEP to be removed from two companies’ health care plans.
Judge Reed O’Connor ruled on Wednesday (September 7) that the inclusion of HIV treatment violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act after companies Braidwood Management and Kelley Orthodontics took the case to court in American District.
Represented by notorious anti-abortion lawyer Johnathan Mitchell, the companies filed a lawsuit, claiming that PrEP coverage in the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) forced anti-LGBTQ+ religious companies to fund the “ homosexual behavior.
They argued that the inclusion of the treatment “requires religious employers to provide coverage for drugs that facilitate and encourage homosexual behavior…prostitution, sexual promiscuity, and intravenous drug use.”
The ruling means neither company is obligated to cover the costs of PrEP for its employers, setting a dangerous precedent for medical treatment coverage nationwide.
Responding to the ruling, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote, “In addition to making affordable health insurance available to millions of Americans, the ACA has guaranteed free access to essential preventive medical services – from cancer screening to HIV prevention drugs like PrEP.
“This guarantee is essential to the health and well-being of millions of Americans, especially LGBTQI+ Americans, people of color…pregnant women and others,” she continued. “The administration is committed to protecting Americans’ access to free, preventative health care and building on the successes of the Affordable Care Act.”
Judge O’Connor is said to have ruled against acts related to the ACA. In a Tweeterlegal journalist Chris Geidner explained that, “O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee, regularly speaks out against Democratic administrations and Democratic-backed policies – leading conservative plaintiffs to seek him out to try their cases.
O’Connor also has a history of anti-LGBTQ rulings, both in relation to marriage and the Title IX sex discrimination ban.
He also has a history of overreaching, even during this time, and his decisions have repeatedly been overturned on appeal or actually overturned by opposing SCOTUS opinions.
– Chris “Subscribe to Law Dork!” Geidner (@chrisgeidner) September 7, 2022
“O’Connor also has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ rulings, both in relation to marriage and the Title IX sex discrimination ban,” he wrote. “He also has a history of overreaching, even during this time, and his decisions have repeatedly been overturned on appeal or actually overturned by opposing opinions from SCOTUS.”
According GCN, The Biden administration has said it is reviewing the decision.
During the proceedings, the defense claimed that the plaintiffs were unable to sue because there had been no harm suffered as a result of the warrant and their religious objection did not warrant the removal. of the ACA provision.
U.S. Justice Department lawyer Christopher Lynch told the court in July that “just having coverage they don’t want or need” isn’t enough to justify the attack on a provision that will “ultimately lead to fewer deaths”.
Additionally, several LGBTQ+ nonprofits blasted the lawsuit for targeting the community at a time when accessibility to HIV treatment is critically important.
“We need a health care system that both provides treatment for disease when people have it and also maximizes our disease prevention tools for people who need it,” the Minister said. Managing Director of Prep4All, Kenyon Farrow.
“If this is our value as a society, then preventing HIV infections should be something we all support.”