ENSURING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
Health care should be a fundamental right. Yet many women and LGBTQ people continue to be denied access to medically necessary care. Laws related to issues like immigration, public assistance, and drug policy frequently result in diminished or no access to health care, especially for immigrant women, women of color, and transgender people. Furthermore, hospitals, insurance providers, employers, and state lawmakers continue to create and maintain policies that deny patients access to a full range of care, often for reasons based on religion or other personally held moral objections.
We believe all people should have the right to access the medical care that is best for them, in consultation with their health care providers. So we are changing the systems that create economic barriers, impose a geographic burden, or otherwise deny women and LGBTQ people access to quality, affordable health care services.
Advocating to end exclusions in public and private health insurance plans that deny coverage for medically necessary care to transgender people.
Fighting discrimination against LGBTQ people in health care, employment, and public accommodations.
Supporting efforts to prohibit health providers from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors through so-called "conversion therapy."
Challenging policies and practices of religiously affiliated hospitals and health care systems that result in denial of access to the full range of care based on religious doctrine.
Fighting for young people's access to confidential reproductive and mental health services.
SPOTLIGHT ON: HEALTHCARE REFUSALS
Federal laws have long exempted health care providers from having to provide abortions in most circumstances. The last several years in particular have seen an unprecedented effort by legislatures and courts to protect and expand the ability of health care providers to refuse to treat, refer, or inform patients about any and all health care needs, and to deny insurance coverage on the basis of personal beliefs.
Health care refusals hurt all patients, but their impact is felt most by women, the LGBTQ community, and people needing end-of-life care. Women suffer denials of abortion care, contraception, and other reproductive health services. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are denied all manner of medical care because of bigotry based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Legal Voice has worked hard to defend patients’ access to health care, regardless of the provider’s personal beliefs or a hospital’s religious affiliation. We believe that laws and policies can strike the appropriate balance by respecting the individual provider’s beliefs while also requiring providers such as pharmacies to make sure patients have access to health care services without discrimination and in a timely manner.
Rather than supporting efforts to protect providers who choose not to provide, we advocate for laws that protect providers' ability to exercise their professional judgment and practice evidence-based health care, unimpeded by restrictive, often religiously influenced, health care system policies. Read more: Whose (Health Care) Conscience Is It, Anyway? by Janet Chung, HuffPost Politics
Advocating with our allies to remove exclusions in Washington health plans that deny equal coverage to transgender people for medically necessary services.
Successfully advocating before Washington’s Public Employee Benefits Board to extend inclusive benefits for transgender people in health plans for Washington state employees.
Successfully bringing suit, along with Columbia Legal Services and ACLU-WA, to require the State of Washington to provide equality in women's health care to incarcerated women.
Hallett v. Washington Corrections Center for Women
Urging the Montana Supreme Court to hold that aid-in-dying does not violate the state’s public policies, affirming the right of a terminally ill, competent adult to end his or her life.
Baxter v. Montana
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