NBJC on Texas District Judge’s Ruling that Requiring Employers to Provide Coverage for HIV Drugs Violates Religious Rights
CONTACT: Brett Abrams | firstname.lastname@example.org
National Black Justice Coalition Says Decision is a Direct Attack on LGBTQ+ People and Those Living With HIV/AIDS
TEXAS — Earlier today, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas ruled that requiring employers to provide coverage for PrEP drugs, which prevent the transmission of HIV, violates the religious rights of employers under federal law.
In reaction to the decision, Dr. David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading Black LGBTQ+/same-gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) civil rights organization, issued the following statement:
“As a person of faith who also appreciates logic and reason, it is clear this decision is not about religious Animus or freedom, but the continuation of politics, partisanship, and a supremacist ideology designed to maintain marginalization by advancing the heterosexual agenda. Medication to prevent the transmission of HIV is less accessible to Black same-gender loving men like me. The life-saving medicine is vital for a community that the CDC says would lose one of every two of us but also for all GBTQ+ people, women, non-binary people, babies, and anyone who uses intravenous needles, whether for drugs or medicine such as insulin. Ending the HIV epidemic should not be a gay thing but a human thing.
“The first amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act protect the freedom of and from religion equally and reasonable accommodations for faith practices, respectively. In this case, the decision privileges the employer’s religious beliefs over its employees’ beliefs and civil rights, making it unconstitutional and unreasonable. We hope this decision is appealed and struck down by higher courts as soon as possible to protect the health and wellness of employees most impacted by stigma, bias, and discrimination. We encourage impacted employees to pursue other options, including free treatment available through their insurance carriers and the pharmaceutical companies that produce PrEP medications.”
Today’s decision continues a trend of conservative extremist jurists denying patients contraceptives and other preventative sexual and reproductive health care medications due to their employers’ personal beliefs and fantasies rather than the constitution.