HHS Erases Resources for Women and LGBTQ People From Its Website…Again

Today, the Sunlight Foundation reported that the Trump-Pence administration’s Department of Health and Human Services removed and altered language from its website on the provision of the Affordable Care Act that  prohibits discrimination in health care services. The move limits access to information and resources that protect women and LGBTQ people, particularly transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, from sex-based discrimination by health care providers. In response, DNC LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta and Women’s Media Director Elizabeth Renda released the following joint statement:


“The Department of Health and Human Services has sent a clear signal that it doesn’t intend to protect the rights of women and LGBTQ individuals.  The Trump-Pence administration’s decision to hide these resources — and the likely forthcoming action from HHS to roll back enforcement of discrimination protections — is shameful and part of a continued effort to rip away access to medical care for women and LGBTQ people.


“The Trump-Pence administration might be able to delete language on a webpage, but they can’t erase women and LGBTQ people. More women and LGBTQ people are stepping up to become activists and volunteers, and even running for office themselves, than ever before. This November, women and LGBTQ people will hold Republicans accountable by electing Democrats across the country and up and down the ticket.”


Today’s action is hardly the first attempt to remove resources for women, transgender people, and the LGBTQ community from HHS websites:


In March 2018, HHS removed health resources for lesbian and bisexual women from its WomensHealth.gov website.

At the time, HHS said the pages and links were taken down as part of a routine update, but the Sunlight Foundation said the pages didn’t appear to be updated and weren’t integrated into any other live webpages.


In April 2018, HHS removed information about breast cancer and other women’s health issues from its WomensHealth.gov website.

The removed material included information about ACA provisions that require coverage of mammograms for some women and free CDC screenings for low-income women.


At the time, HHS claimed again that the removal was part of a routine audit, and only returned the information to the site after days of public pressure.