A report by the Sunlight Foundation has revealed WomensHealth.gov, a US Health Department site devoted to women’s health, has removed a page which catered specifically to the concerns of lesbian and bi women.
The page contained answers to queries such as ‘What factors put lesbians’ and bisexual women’s health at risk?’ and ‘What are important health issues that lesbians and bisexual women should discuss with their healthcare professionals?’ In a further move, the option ‘Bisexual and lesbian health’ also vanished from the website’s listing of health care topics.
The Sunlight Foundation, a non profit group that advocates for open government, stated that the removal of the information had not been ‘proactively communicated on the website publicly, as is required by federal record keeping guidelines’.
In response, the Health Department replied ‘The outdated lesbian and bisexual health pages were removed and the health content was integrated’ across the website.
The Foundation countered that the information had in fact not been integrated and any existing pages which might have been in any way connected to the issues had not been updated. They also stated that a fact sheet with further information for women was removed from its current URL and almost hidden in a different URL not linked by any existing pages and inaccessible by navigating through the website.
Advocates say this is just the latest attack by the Department of Health on LGBT citizens’ equal rights following the set up of the Division Of Conscience And Religious Freedom, created to uphold complaints from healthcare workers who feel forced to participate in procedures running contrary to their beliefs. This could include the treatment of LGBT people.
On the heels of President Trump recently omitting LGBT people from his World Aids Day speech, a statement released by Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, protested, ‘Eliminating important information about LGBTQ health is dangerous…The Trump-Pence administration will stop at nothing to push its own beliefs and objectives to deny people access to lifesaving care.’
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