This past Monday could have been declared "Women's Day" at the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices handed down their final decisions of this Court term. Two of those decisions dealt with women's health and safety.
First of all in the case of Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court threw out the odious Texas law known as H.B. 2 which claimed to be a protection of women's health by placing extra burdens on doctors and clinics that provide abortions. The Texas law and similar legislation in more than twenty other states are commonly known as TRAP laws - or, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers - and have the intended effect of making it more difficult to obtain abortions and thus reduce the numbers of those constitutionally-approved medical procedures.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the lead in dissembling the logic behind the Texas law. In a separate opinion she wrote:
“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. Laws like H. B. 2 that ‘do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion,’ … cannot survive judicial inspection.”
In another decision that broadly affects the safety of women, the Court ruled 6-2 in Voisine v. United States that domestic abusers convicted of misdemeanors can be barred from owning guns. In so doing the Court upheld provisions of the federal Lautenberg Amendment which says that a convicted domestic abuser who persists in owning a gun can receive up to 10 years in jail. Those opposed to the Lautenberg Amendment argued owning guns was a "constitutional right," and the Supreme Court responded that it was absolutely fine to take that "right" away due to the inherent dangers of domestic abuse.
Women now, it would seem, will have a bit more access to abortions and be somewhat safer in their own homes. It's not a lot, but it's a start. Good work, Justices!