Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Abortion Access & Domestic Violence: #SCOTUS Delivers 2 Big ‘Wins’ for Women (video)

The Supreme Court is in the midst of its 2016 decision season, when legal cases that have been winding their way through the system for years have their big day. Since the Republicans in Congress refuse to do their job and confirm a new SCOTUS justice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly, many recent decisions have been deadlocked 4-4, allowing the lower court’s decision to stand.

Today’s decisions were wins for women because both decisions will save lives.

Abortion Clinic Restrictions Shot Down

In a 5-4 decision, Supreme Court justices struct down Texas abortion clinic restrictions that would have closed all of the clinics in Texas, except a handful in the five major urban areas. This was the Texas law that catapulted Texas Legislator Wendy Davis to national prominence when she filibustered it in 2013. That year, Republican-controlled Legislatures across the country debated 300 bills to limit women’s rights and abortion access. Thanks to copycat laws pedaled by anti-abortion groups like the Center for Arizona Policy, today’s SCOTUS decision means similar restrictions in other states (like Arizona) are likely unconstitutional. (Check out the New York Times maps here.)

From the New York Times

One part of the law requires all clinics in the state to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers, including regulations concerning buildings, equipment and staffing. The other requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital

‘We conclude, ‘ Justice Breyer wrote, ‘that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substatial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the federal Constitution.'”

No Guns for ‘Reckless’ Domestic Abusers

Two men who were convicted of domestic violence in Maine and subsequently denied access to firearms sued to get their guns back. They admitted that they committed domestic violence “recklessly” but not intentionally or knowingly.

So “reckless” domestic violence in the heat of an argument is somehow OK? Not according to the Supreme Court (in a 6-2 decision). From the Huffington Post

Reckless conduct was intended to be covered under the Lautenberg Amendment, which was enacted to bar domestic abusers convicted of “garden-variety assault or battery misdemeanors” from owning guns, she [Justice Kagan] added. 

The case was followed closely by anti-gun violence organizations, which warned that it could put women’s lives at stake.

Domestic violence and guns are known to be a deadly combination. Experts say that if an abuser has access to a gun, victims are five times more likely to be killed. A study published earlier this year found that simply living in a state with a high rate of gun ownership increases a woman’s chance of being fatally shot in a domestic violence situation.

Good job, SCOTUS. Can you strike down Citizens United next?

Cross-posted from PowersForThePeople.net.

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About

The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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Thanks to my wonderful supporters from the Oro Valley Democrats Club for the Valentine's Day card. The number of friends who signed the card is heart warming. It is in my office with my kitty cat collection. #azleg #tucson #demslead
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