ACLU Comments In Response to Proposed November 2019 Department of Health and Human Services Rule

The ACLU submitted these comments in response to a rule the Department of Health and Human Services proposed in November 2019, and would roll back protections that ensure recipients of grants from HHS do not deny people the benefits of those grants for discriminatory reasons. The Department fails to acknowledge how permitting grantees to discriminate against people seeking services undercuts the effectiveness of those services. And by authorizing discrimination in programs it administers, the Department is undermining its mission to protect the health and well-being of people in the United States.

Although the Department offers several reasons for the Proposed Rule, none withstands scrutiny. In effect, the Department has acted on the complaints of a small number of grantees to craft a broad rule that harms the very people the Department is tasked with serving. While the Proposed Rule permits discrimination on a variety of bases across multiple programs, it specifically targets lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (“LGBTQ”) individuals by removing protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity from virtually all HHS-funded programs.

For these and other reasons details in the comments, the ACLU urged HHS to decline to finalize changes to the nondiscrimination provisions in the Proposed Rule.

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