A government watchdog revealed on Wednesday that information on lesbian and bisexual women's health issues has been quietly removed from the Health and Human Services Department's (HHS) website under the Trump administration, leading to outcry from health advocacy groups.
If you're gonna remove references to lesbian and bisexual health amid an all-out attack on LGBTQ health care (reproductive health care, too), maybe you should stop calling yourselves the U.S. Department of HEALTH and Human Services.https://t.co/UCjcqvurOi— Christine Grimaldi (@chgrimaldi) March 21, 2018
Yet again, the Trump-Pence Administration has been caught deleting public resources for #LGBTQ people -- in this case, health care resources for lesbian and bisexual women. RT to #CallItOut. h/t @SunWebIntegrity https://t.co/fexe8fHtCt— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 21, 2018
Links to an up-to-date page, last reviewed in 2012 and detailing risk factors for lesbian and bisexual women, sexually transmitted infections, and challenges the population faces in the healthcare system, were taken down and the page was removed from the Office of Women's Health's (OWH) website last fall, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
The page was replaced with a fact sheet about lesbian and bisexual women's health that was last updated in 2009, but the page can only be navigated to by conducting a word search on the OWH site. No other links to the information exist on the website.
"The inaccessibility of this fact sheet on the OWH website is part of a trend at HHS of deprioritizing LGBTQ individuals and their health needs under the current administration," wrote Rachel Bergman, a researcher at Sunlight. "A new user of the OWH website would never even know the fact sheet is there."
Compared with the information that was removed from the website, the fact sheet that is now available via a word search is insufficient, according to the group.
"These pages, which provide less comprehensive information and do not focus on directing users toward resources on other websites, do not serve as replacements for the important removed pages and resources," Bergman said of the fact sheet.
The removal of the page is just the latest example of the administration scrubbing government websites of information pertaining to issues of which President Donald Trump and other officials have been dismissive.
Last October, HHS released its Draft Strategic Plan for the coming year, which included no mention of LGBTQ people and their health issues.
Meanwhile, the department's Office of Civil Rights established a Conscience and Religious Freedom division in January. The office will work to enforce a rule to keep "individuals and organizations from being compelled to participate in procedures...when it would violate their religious beliefs or moral convictions"—such as abortion care or gender confirmation surgery for transgender people—adding to fears among progressives that Trump's health department is aimed not at addressing the health concerns of Americans, but at promoting the administration's extreme anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ agendas.