Without a doubt the big news of Monday was the Supreme Court, in a 5-3 ruling, striking down Texas’ highly restrictive anti-abortion laws. This was easily the biggest ruling on abortion in two decades, and it’s already being considered a landmark decision for women’s rights advocates.
To summarize, Texas Republicans knew that they couldn’t place an outright ban on abortion, so they passed legislation that established absurd standards which any clinic performing abortions had to meet. What Republicans are basically trying to do across the country is make it nearly impossible for a woman to have a safe abortion. They claim these laws are entirely about protecting women, when in reality this is nothing but conservatives trying to find loopholes to limit the access women have to abortion providers.
That’s more or less what the Supreme Court said on Monday when it ruled that the restrictions Texas put in place served no actual purpose in regards to protecting women’s health, and that they were basically just measures put in place to try make it more difficult for women to have an abortion.
This ruling was humiliating for Republicans for several reasons.
1. It set a precedent that Republicans cannot pass laws that place unreasonable burdens on abortion clinics in an attempt to close these facilities down, which is basically the “loophole” Republican have been using for years to attack abortion rights. With many other states facing similar challenges to similar laws like the one that was struck down in Texas, this ruling provides a lot of optimism that these laws in other states will soon be struck down as well.
2. This makes it much more difficult for Republicans to pass new laws attempting to restrict abortion access. Now any attempt by Republicans to try to find a way to close abortion clinics is going to have to fall within reasonable measures that have a legitimate focus on protecting women. That’s incredibly difficult for Republicans to do when this has nothing to do with protecting women and everything to do with trying to circumvent a woman’s Constitutional right to choose.
3. It showed us how fragile women’s rights are in this country, placing a direct focus on the importance of the Supreme Court and the 2016 election. We’re already looking at one open seat, with rumors floating around that Clarence Thomas might be retiring soon after the election. Our next president might get to nominate two Justices right off the bat — to say nothing about Ginsberg (83), Kennedy (79) and Breyer (77) who are all looking at possible retirement in the next few years. Yes, our next president could very well select five Justices. If Hillary Clinton wins, it’s very possible that a Democratic president will have chosen 7 of the 9 justices on the Court… or we can let Donald Trump possibly make those five selections, which would mean that a Republican president would have chosen 7 of our 9 justices. This is why I’ve been saying for well over a year now that this election is one Democrats cannot mess up by letting the GOP win this November. If Trump wins and a Republican gets to choose up to five Justices, the next major Supreme Court ruling on abortion could be the one that overturns Roe v. Wade, making abortion illegal.
4. This is was a flat-out embarrassing loss for the Republican party. In a world where optics matter, the Supreme Court ruling against backwards Republican ideology on women’s rights is a huge blow to the party as a whole. Especially considering the ongoing turmoil that’s been transpiring over the last few months as Donald Trump has completely hijacked the entire party. It’s also a major setback for how conservatives can try to attack abortion rights going forward. As I said earlier, while they’ll undoubtedly keep trying, this ruling effectively sends the party back to the drawing board as it relates to how they’ll try to infringe upon women’s rights in the future.
5. It exposed the Republican party’s true intentions behind these laws they claim are all about “protecting women.” This is one of those moments where what most rational people knew (that Republicans were passing these laws in an effort to try to find some sort of loophole to block abortion rights for women) was confirmed by the Supreme Court flat-out saying that these laws had nothing to do with protecting women. They actually put the health of women at risk by closing facilities where women could safely have these procedures done. It’s always nice when what you’ve accused people of doing for years is confirmed by the most powerful court in the country.
The bottom line is this, Monday’s ruling was a monumental win for women and women’s rights advocates and an embarrassing defeat for the Republican party and those who are constantly trying to infringe upon the Constitutional rights of women.
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