Happy 1st Anniversary, Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt!
One year ago today, we led off our blog post with a big fat YAAASSS! for the brand new Supreme Court ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt that reaffirmed abortion rights for a new generation! Many thanks & MUCH LOVE to Amy Hagstrom Miller and the Center for Reproductive Rights for taking this fight to the courts for all of us. Because you rule, SCOTUS RULED FOR JUSTICE! !
The 5-3 Whole Woman’s Health ruling said that bogus Texas TRAP laws placed an “undue burden” on abortion providers and those seeking an abortion. The law being challenged in this case was Texas’s notorious HB2. Under the obviously bullcrap guise of protecting women’s health and safety, the law was 129 pages of regulations about the width of hallways in clinics or the type of air conditioning used. And it forced providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles–all regulatory red tape meant to make running a clinic impossible.
For 43 years since Roe v Wade in 1973, anti-abortion nuts had chipped away at reproductive rights. One year ago today, the Supreme Court told them to quit chipping.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that it was “beyond rational belief” that the Texas restrictions could protect women’s health. It was a ringing endorsement of reproductive freedom.
And lot of good has happened since. Two of the 22 Texas abortion clinics that were forced to close down in the aftermath of the TRAP laws have reopened. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a step forward. In fact, since the ruling, new laws are being drafted to actually PROTECT abortion rights–133 bills in 33 states to be exact.
But that said, the fight is often an uphill battle. The election results and the mini Scalia Trump appointed to the Supreme Court, have been emboldened the legislative shit-stirrers who fucked with abortion rights before. They are creating a slew of new TRAP laws that yet again have nothing to do with healthcare, and everything to do with closing down clinics. The Whole Woman’s Health ruling gave us a legal precedent to challenge these onerous abortion restrictions, but that doesn’t seem to stop the crazy fucknuts from churning them out.
Since January alone, Oklahoma legislators attempted to make abortion first degree murder. Arkansas passed legislation requiring that fetal tissue from abortions performed on minors be preserved for possible police investigations! Even Creepier? Laws requiring that aborted tissue be given burial or cremation have popped up in Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana. And the safest and most common method of performing a 2nd trimester abortion has been banned in Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, and of course, Texas!
But the law most likely to end up back in front of the Supreme Court in the not so distant future is the ban on any abortion performed after 20 weeks as extremists continue to push non medical quackery that could sway a hostile court to determine the lives of women based on their junk science. This ban has reared its ugly head in numerous states including Tennessee, Kentucky, Iowa, and Ohio, and is the one pushed the hardest on the federal level. And if put before the Supreme Court could, it could undermine and overturn Roe V Wade.
And because no one knows who the fuck will be on the Supreme Court in 2018 and beyond, we should all be very concerned. The 5 justices who represent the majority in Whole Woman’s Health are still on the bench, but with the addition of Gorsuch the Terrible, (And any new Trump nominees) we could be facing a very grim fate for reproductive rights.
We have already seen some ominous signs from Trump and co. Trumpcare proposes to ban insurance coverage of abortion care and to defund Planned Parenthood. His Health and Human Services department is now stocked with ideologues who claim that abortion causes breast cancer, birth control is a hoax, and abstinence is the cure for everything.
So yeah, there are a lot of nasty fights ahead on both the state and national level.
But let’s not forget, one year ago today, we scored a great victory! So for the next 24 hours, let’s party like it’s 2016—forever the year of Whole Woman’s Health!
And then let’s WAKE UP TOMORROW and devote ourselves to beating back whatever new trap-crap the anti-abortion forces can throw at us. Let’s champion our courageous providers and the all people who need their services. Let this anniversary be a time to recommit our unwavering support for the full humanity and bodily autonomy of everyone. And then 2017 will be a year that we can celebrate too!