Senators accuse HHS, OMB of censoring LGBT health information on websites

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A group of U.S. Senators accused HHS and OMB of making LGBT health information difficult or impossible to find on government websites. (Sarah Stierch/CC BY 4.0)

The Trump Administration’s removal of LGBT health information from HHS websites has drawn fire from a group of Democratic U.S. senators led by Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Patty Murray, D-Wash.

In a letter to President Trump, Senators Feinstein, Baldwin and Murray, along with 16 Senate colleagues, cite the recent removal of “critical LGBT health and scientific information” from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health (OWH) site and the Office of Management and Budget site as part of a “pattern of censorship” aimed at LGBT individuals.

RELATED: Under Trump, HHS rolls back policies aimed at protecting LGBT rights

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According to the letter, information targeted specifically at lesbian and bisexual women has been removed, moved around on the OWH website or otherwise “rendered inaccessible and unnavigable.” Administration officials have claimed innocent excuses for these moves, suggesting it has been consolidated in other areas of sites, or that materials might have been rendered temporarily inaccessible due to maintenance or other site updates.

The senators expressed skepticism about those explanations and requested answers to a series of detailed questions about changes to the site and any communication to the public about those alterations.

RELATED: Opponents say controversial new HHS ‘religious freedom’ division a ‘prescription for discrimination’

“While we have seen previous Administrations undermine LGBT health due to ideological pressure from conservative organizations by abruptly deleting online health information—similarly under the guise of site maintenance—your Administration has taken numerous extreme actions to systematically deny access to vital health resources for vulnerable populations, turning back the clock on equal access to care,” the Senators write.

The Trump Administration has been under scrutiny for its approach to issues around LGBT care. For example, critics have attacked a proposed rule allowing healthcare workers to refuse to provide care on moral and religious grounds.

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