Two major wins for women in the Supreme Court today
The Supreme Court stepped up for women today in two major ways. First, they agreed that domestic abuse is domestic abuse — whether it’s “reckless” or “planned” — and upheld an earlier bill that prohibits domestic abusers from having guns. Next, they struck down Texas abortion clinic regulations that basically ensured that reproductive choice was only for women with money or means to travel.
In 1996, the Lautenberg Amendment passed. It amended the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 by banning the possession of firearms by individuals convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. This was — and still is — very good news for women, considering a third of all women murdered in the U.S. are killed by male partners.
“Domestic violence in America is to a significant degree a problem of gun violence,” reports Everytown for Gun Safety. “Over the past 25 years, more intimate partner homicides in the U.S. have been committed with guns than with all other weapons combined. And people with a history of committing domestic violence are five times more likely to subsequently murder an intimate partner when a firearm is in the house.”
Women are not safe in homes where there exists both the threat of domestic violence, and guns.
In 2009, a Maine man was arrested for shooting a bald eagle and when he turned over his rifle to police they discovered he was not legally able to have guns. He had been twice convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor against his girlfriend, which made him ineligible for gun ownership according to the 1996 amendment. His name was Stephen Voisine. He and another man convicted of the same thing took their case to the Supreme court.
In the case of Voisine v. United States, lawyers for the men argued that “the men acted in the heat of the moment and their impulsive, reckless acts of domestic violence are not serious enough to qualify under the federal gun ban.” If you’re confused, you should be, because that’s ridiculous. Assault is assault, whether it was planned or not. And today, the Supreme Court affirmed that these two idiots don’t have a case by stating, “A person who assaults another recklessly ‘use[s]’ force, no less than one who carries out that same action knowingly or intentionally.”
Next, the Supreme court struck down a Texas abortion law that made it almost impossible for women without means to secure an abortion. Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt argued that HB2 placed an undue burden on women seeking a legal abortion. HB2 banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers and mandated that a doctor have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where he or she performed abortions. Only five abortion clinics in the whole state met those standards, so the bill would essentially shutter all other women’s health clinics that provided abortion access.
Basically, under the guise of “protecting women’s health” — Texas Republicans were just pushing their anti-choice agendas. But tough shit, guys. Roe v Wade passed — The Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment protects the right to privacy, including a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, against state action. The Supreme court today upheld that you cannot “impose an unconstitutional ‘undue burden’ on women’s ability to terminate their pregnancies.”
A win for the reproductive freedom of women — and The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg shut these fools down. Here is a summary of her reaction to the ruling, provided by Slate:
“The Texas law called H. B. 2 inevitably will reduce the number of clinics and doctors allowed to provide abortion services,” Ginsburg explained. “Texas argues that H. B. 2’s restrictions are constitutional because they protect the health of women who experience complications from abortions. In truth, ‘complications from an abortion are both rare and rarely dangerous.’ ”
“Many medical procedures, including childbirth, are far more dangerous to patients, yet are not subject to ambulatory surgical-center or hospital admitting-privileges requirements,” Ginsburg stated, including “tonsillectomy, colonoscopy, and in-office dental surgery.”
“Given [these] realities, it is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions. When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety. So long as this Court adheres to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers laws like H. B. 2 that do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion, cannot survive judicial inspection.”