Trump wins court victory in transgender military ban

Elias Hubbard
June 17, 2019

The Trump administration can not block pregnant unaccompanied migrant minors in federal custody from accessing abortion, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a previous lower court decision that the Trump administration can not "unduly burden" women from obtaining abortions, according to Reuters.

The government could appeal the decision to the full D.C. Circuit or to the Supreme Court.

Sharon McGowan, legal director of Lambda Legal, which represents opponents of the ban, said she believed the decision foreshadowed the eventual "vindication of the constitutional right of the transgender service members who have been harmed by this policy".

Pechman was one of four federal judges who ruled against the administration on the transgender troop ban, saying it likely violated the US Constitution's equal protection guarantee.

The case went to the Supreme Court past year, which vacated an earlier decision siding with Doe but allowed litigation to continue in lower courts. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice also could not be reached. The policy was blocked by a judge in 2018; the judge said the government could not deny minors the right to make reproductive decisions, a ruling that was again upheld on Friday by a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The high court did not resolve the underlying question of the legality of the Republican president's plan, which reversed the landmark 2016 policy of his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama, to let transgender people serve openly in the armed forces for the first time and to receive medical care to transition genders.

Medical experts define gender dysphoria as distress from the internal conflict between physical gender and gender identity. But it allowed people diagnosed with gender dysphoria during the Obama policy to stay in the military and serve according to their gender identity.

"We are unanimous in rejecting the government's position that its denial of abortion access can be squared with Supreme Court precedent", the panel opinion says.

The government, nevertheless, still bore the burden of showing the policy significantly furthered its important interests, "and that is not a trivial burden", the court added.

The lawsuit was filed in August 2017 on behalf of current and aspiring Army and Navy personnel, including one stationed overseas with almost 20 years of experience.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article