The Supreme Court made a historic decision this week in Monday’s ruling that overturned abortion restrictions in Texas. The Court also declined to hear three other cases that addressed reproductive health in major victories for access to contraception and abortion. In a case that was overshadowed this week, the Court ruled Monday in support of a law that restricted gun access for domestic violence offenders.
On Monday, the Texas HB 2 law that required abortion clinics to comply with ambulatory surgical center standards and mandated that doctors administering abortions obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals was struck down by the Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. In light of this ruling, Alabama’s attorney general ended the state’s fight to institute a similar law and Arizona Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs announced her intention to introduce legislation repealing Arizona’s admitting privilege law.
Also Monday, the Court ruled 6-2 in Voisine v. United States to affirm protections for victims of domestic violence by preventing individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from owning guns. The Court ruled that an act of domestic violence committed “recklessly” as opposed to intentionally or knowingly, is still an inappropriate use of force and constitutes a culpable enough threat to deny access to firearms.
On Tuesday, the Court declined to hear two separate cases regarding admitting privilege requirements for doctors who are providing abortion care at clinics in Wisconsin and Mississippi. This upholds the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision that struck down a Wisconsin law, thereby protecting the four abortion clinics in the state. In Mississippi, the Court’s decision upholds a preliminary injunction that was put in place by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, ensuring that Mississippi’s sole abortion provider remains open while the case makes its way through the federal district court, where it is almost certain to be deemed unconstitutional.
Also Tuesday, the Court declined to hear a case brought by Washington pharmacists who argued for a right to deny services on grounds of religious objections. A 2007 regulation adopted in the state bound pharmacies to fill lawful prescriptions, with the caveat that individual pharmacists with religious objections could refer patients to another pharmacist who works within the same store. The suit claimed that because most pharmacists work alone, the inability of these pharmacists to refer patients to another pharmacist would force them to violate their religious beliefs. The Court’s decision upholds a 2015 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which deemed the regulation constitutional.