On Friday, the Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era rule which defined Title IX sex discrimination as including “gender identity,” thus redefining “sex” as being determined by biology and not identified as the Obama administration had done.
Just the News notes that the rule change had been a concession to LGBT activists who “in recent years have sought to have significantly broadened interpretations of sex enshrined into local, state and federal law.”
The previous administration’s rule had expanded the definition of “sex” as “an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.”
Entities under the federal Title IX statute were banned from discriminating against anyone on the basis of “sex,” meaning that before Friday’s announcement, this would include “gender identity.”
This, as you can imagine, was highly problematic.
“Under the old Obama rule, medical professionals could have been forced to facilitate gender reassignment surgeries and abortions — even if they believed this was a violation of their conscience or believed it harmful to the patient,” said Mary Beth Waddell of the Family Research Council said, according to the AP.
In a statement on Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the government would once again be defining “sex” as determined by biology.
“HHS will enforce [the rule] by returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology,” the press release stated.
The Trump administration argued in an entry for the federal register that the prior rule “risked masking clinically relevant, and sometimes vitally important, information by requiring providers and insurers to switch from a scientifically valid and biologically based system of tracking sex to one based on subjective self-identification according to gender identity.”
DHS also noted that the Obama-era rule had been enjoined by a federal court at the end of 2016, and the same federal court finaly voided the rule completely in October of 2019. HSS clarified they were simply “finalizing” the rule in its Friday announcement.
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