Nessel fights Trump proposals for women, LGBTQs

    President Donald Trump at a Battle Creek rally, Dec. 18, 2019 | Andrew Roth

    Women and members of the LGBTQ community have become the targets of two federal proposals aiming to roll back anti-discriminatory protections, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

    She has joined 22 other attorneys general in comment letters opposing the proposals. The proposals were a result of President Trump’s executive order that went into effect in July 2019.

    Attorney General Dana Nessel at the Mackinac Policy Conference, May 29, 2019 | Andrew Roth

    In the first proposal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) would eliminate transparency requirements for faith-based providers that help women and LGBTQ patients understand their rights and access to referrals to receive care from alternative providers. Removing notice and referral requirements would adversely impact women’s abilities to access critical reproductive care, including abortion, the AGs argue.

    Nessel joins the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin in filing the letter opposing the DHHS proposal.

    In the second proposal, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is expanding the definition used to claim a religious exemption under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, commonly just known as Title IX. This would allow schools to discriminate against students or faculty based on sex, citing the moral beliefs and practices of administrators for reasoning, even if those practices have no connection with a religion. 

    The AGs said under the proposal, a student could face discrimination for using birth control, being pregnant or parenting a child out of marriage, or for being LGBTQ, because of the moral beliefs or practices of school administrators. Sexual harassment and violence survivors could also be denied the protections of Title IX by schools claiming to be exempt under the proposed rule.

    In filing the letter against the DOE proposal, Nessel joins the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia.

    Madeline Ciak
    Madeline Ciak is a former Michigan Advance reporter. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12.