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Landmark Rule Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sex, Race, Gender Identity, Age, More

Washington, DC — Today, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America responded to the Obama administration’s release of regulations clarifying Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the landmark law that prohibits federally funded health care entities from discriminating against patients on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and disability.


“The Affordable Care Act has been the greatest advance for women’s health in a generation, and we’re thrilled to see the administration move this country’s health care system even closer to health equity for all,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This administration is once again making it clear that women must be treated equally to men when it comes to accessing health care,and that no one should experience discrimination when seeking the health care they need.”


In a move that has profound implications for health coverage and health care access in this country, today’s protections build upon the ACA’s important advances for women, including the requirement of coverage for women’s preventive services and maternity care. The landmark rule lays out new, groundbreaking protections that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including a critical prohibition on discrimination against pregnant people; prohibit discrimination against transgender people on the basis of gender identity; and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in many circumstances. It also extends new protections for disabled persons' access to care and moves to eliminate barriers for people of limited English proficiency (LEPs).


These protections will advance health equity for all communities nationwide through improving access for those with the greatest need for care, including immigrant communities and communities of color. Planned Parenthood worked alongside other civil rights and health care advocates to ensure that the rule eliminates discrimination to the fullest extent possible under the law so that all individuals can access health care with dignity and respect.


“At Planned Parenthood, we strive to provide health care that’s inclusive and respectful of all genders and identities,” said Richards. “Our goal is to make every person who comes through our doors feel welcome, comfortable, and cared for while providing the best possible care — no matter what.”


Planned Parenthood believes that every person deserves access to comprehensive health care, including reproductive health care like birth control and abortion. Planned Parenthood is proud to be a provider of health care, education, and information for LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and people of all ages and backgrounds across the country. Planned Parenthood's doors are open to everyone — regardless of race, national origin, gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation.


“Access to quality health care and accurate information is a fundamental right for all people and shouldn’t depend on who you are or where you live,” said Richards. “Transgender people, like everyone else, have a fundamental need for quality health care, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  Planned Parenthood is proud to provide quality, compassionate care to transgender men and women and to gender nonconforming people.


In addition to the economic and geographic barriers many people face when seeking health care, transgender people face additional, unique challenges when it comes to getting the care they need. Health care environments can be unwelcoming to transgender and gender nonconforming patients — from filling out forms, to the language used in the waiting room, to staff knowledge and understanding of transgender identities. A 2010 national survey found that of transgender people seeking health care:


  • 28% were subjected to harassment in medical settings and 2% were physically assaulted in doctor’s offices;

  • 19% were refused medical care, with higher numbers for people of color (21% of black trans people and 23% of Latino/a trans people have been refused medical care due to bias);

  • 50% had to “teach my provider” about basic transgender health; and

  • 28% postponed medical care when sick or injured due to discrimination.

Whether you're transgender or cisgender, you can visit a Planned Parenthood health center for preventive care, STD testing and treatment, birth control, cancer screenings, other sexual and reproductive health services, and referrals. Currently, over 30 Planned Parenthood health centers in 10 states offer hormone treatment for trans people.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate, serving 2.5 million patients through its health care service providers, and 1.5 million people through education and outreach in 2014.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


May 13, 2016