Texas Judge Rules PrEP Mandate Violates Christian Employer’s “Religious Freedom”
I think we all knew the way this conservative judge would rule (this is Texas, after all, and he was appointed by worthless clown George W. Bush, the second worst president of the last fifty years, right behind Ronald Reagan), but that doesn’t make the ruling any less horrifying. Christians not only want all gays dead, they simply want everyone dead who’s practicing safe sex (i.e., people who aren’t married and aren’t fucking for the sole purpose of procreation), given that HIV infects more heterosexuals than it does homosexuals. Via Bloomberg:
A federal judge in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for free coverage of groundbreaking HIV prevention drugs made by Gilead Sciences Inc. “substantially burdens” the religious freedom of a Christian-owned company.
US District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth on Wednesday granted summary judgment to Braidwood Management Inc. in its challenge to coverage of Gilead’s Truvada and Descovy. The two pre-exposure prophylactic drugs, commonly known as PrEP, are taken daily by hundreds of thousands of Americans, particularly men who have sex with men.
The suit is being led by attorney Jonathan Mitchell, the Republican former solicitor general of Texas known for his efforts to restrict abortion access in the state. Mitchell argues that mandatory PrEP coverage forces Christians to subsidize “homosexual behavior.”
The judge reserved deciding the “appropriate remedy” for resolving the claim, and it’s unclear what impact the ruling will have beyond the plaintiff company, which employs about 70 people. He said there was no evidence that the government couldn’t assume the cost of providing PrEP drugs to people who are unable to obtain them from religious employers.
I tried to find out more about the plaintiff in the case, “Braidwood Management,” and if that name sounds fake, that’s because it is. Braidwood is a sort of shell corporation, and the real person behind it is a religious quack named “Dr. Hotze,” who runs a scam medical facility out of Texas called “Hotze Health & Wellness Center.” Note the welcome message about the “COVID-19 injection” on their site’s homepage:
A business information database states that Braidwood employs two people and earns $250k annually. The owner of Braidwood is that “doctor” Steven Hotze, and the address listed is the same as the “wellness” center, which is also on a street called “Braidwood Dr.”
More on plaintiff Braidwood/Hotze via Wikipedia:
Steven Forrest Hotze (born in 1950) is an American talk-radio host, physician, and activist. He is known as a supporter of a variety of right-wing political causes: against protections for LGBT people, against vaccine mandates to fight COVID, and as a proponent of Donald Trump’s false claims that he was cheated in the 2020 presidential election. Hotze is presently under indictment for aggravated assault for his alleged involvement in a voting-fraud investigation that resulted in a private investigator attacking and holding at gunpoint an air conditioning equipment repairman.
There’s a lot on this freak’s Wiki, but this was the most recent update:
After nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd reached Texas in early June 2020, Hotze called Governor Abbott’s office on June 6 and demanded Texas Army National Guard soldiers be sent to Houston with “the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That’s the only way you restore order. Kill ’em. Thank you.”
So between Hotze, his lawyer Mitchell (who brought on the anti-abortion law in Texas), and the Bush judge who ruled in their favor, there was no way anyone could stop this in Texas. The only slight glimmer of hope is that the Christofascist judge’s previous ruling on the AFA was overturned by the Supreme Court before, and the PrEP case will undoubtedly be appealed. Via judge O’Connor’s Wiki:
On December 14, 2018, O’Connor ruled that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. O’Connor ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional by saying “[the] Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause—meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional.”
While O’Connor’s ruling was upheld on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, O’Connor and the Fifth Circuit were reversed by the Supreme Court of the United States in a 7-2 ruling issued on June 17, 2021, which stated that the parties involved in the lawsuit did not have standing to bring the suit. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer was joined in the majority by Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.
Hotze (a.k.a. “Braidwood”), judge O’Connor, and lawyer Mitchell, the three men who are doing everything they can to kill women, gays, and every non-Christian person in America: