The Supreme Court's Big Votes on Abortion & Guns Make America Safer for Women

Remember Wendy Davis, the Texas lawyer-slash-hero who filibustered for 11 hours straight in 2013 for your right to have an abortion? Right. Well, she lost. The bill she was trying to block was signed into law in Texas about a month after her filibuster and it caused more than half the abortion clinics in the state to close. It sucked. But on June 27, 2016 -- almost exactly three years to the day after Wendy's takedown -- the Supreme Court voted on the constitutionality of the same abortion bill, and this time, we won.

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Of course, that's not to say that Wendy's part in all this was unnecessary or unneeded -- her filibuster brought much-needed national attention to the bill, the restrictions it put in place (which we eventually started to call TRAP -- or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers -- laws), and their effects on abortion clinics in the state. 

The TRAP laws stopped at Wendy for 11 hours, but other than that, they slipped easily through the Texas House and Senate, and then past the judges in every court it was appealed to. They were so slippery, they slid onto the Supreme Court's 2016 spring term agenda, where, finally, they were stopped for good. 

More from CafeMom: Women Are Getting Misleading Information About Abortion -- but Here's the Truth

That means that abortion clinics no longer need to meet the same standards as low-risk surgery facilities (which they did, even when they were just handing out pills), and doctors no longer need admitting privileges at nearby hospitals to perform an abortion. The law was enacted to "regulate" abortion clinics to the point where they just couldn't exist, and they worked.

Until the Supreme Court got a look at it. Then they were like, "HOLD UP."

In the first major ruling on an abortion case in almost 10 years, the court voted 5-3 to reverse the standing decision on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. All three female justices voted in favor of blocking the TRAP laws, which you'd think would be enough of an indicator to the men on the court that something fishy was going on with this law, but nope. Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy joined Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan in the majority, and John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito dissented.

More from CafeMom: Why SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is More Than Just a Feminist Meme

So that's one piece of good news. The other piece of good news is that the SC also voted on Voisine v. the United States, which essentially covers the question of whether or not people convicted of domestic violence can own firearms. Currently, they can't (at least in Maine, where this case originated). The petitioners wanted to narrow the law so that it only applies to people convicted of acting intentionally against their domestic partners, instead of those acting intentionally or recklessly.

The court voted 6-2 (Clarence Thomas dissented and Sonia Sotomayor dissented in part) to uphold the current law, saying that a reckless misdemeanor is plenty enough reason to take someone's gun away. This is big. If they had voted the other way, the federal weapons ban would no longer have applied in cases involving domestic abuse laws. Because gun control legislation is so jammed up in Congress right now, the Supreme Court's strong decision on the matter is a loud and powerful voice in favor of stricter gun laws, especially when women are involved.

So, good. At least someone's on our side.

 

Image via Wikipedia Commons

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