Happy Day After No Copay Day! Everyone hug your now-likely-much-cheaper birth control and jump around screaming like you just randomly ran into it at a bar! Dance together in a circle! Get all of your celebrating out now, because I've got some pretty sobering, not-awesome news: in the past week, three separate, terribly depressing court rulings have ignored science and put both abortion rights and birth control access at risk. Again.
The New York Times nicely sums up the trio of giant bummers happening at about the same time that health care becomes more affordable to millions of women. And while all of them can be appealed, none of them should be ignored.
First, let's take an imaginary trip to Arizona (because no one should ever take a real trip there). On Monday, a district judge there ruled that the state's ban on all abortions after 20 weeks with no exceptions for rape, incest, the health of the mother, or fetal abnormality can go into effect, even though it directly defies the Supreme Court ruling that states can't ban abortion before viability (before the fetus can survive on its own outside of a woman's body), which doesn't occur until about 24 weeks' gestation. The law's especially cruel considering the fact that many fetal abnormalities and health risks to the mother can't be determined until beyond that point in a pregnancy, and, as others have mentioned, the new law will condemn some couples to give birth to nonviable fetuses and basically watch them die. It also requires women whose pregnancies are risks to their own health to either leave the state or deal with a debilitating pregnancy Arizona mandates they carry to term. Judge James Teilborg, a Bill Clinton appointee (!!!) characterized the ban not as a "ban," but as a "regulation," which is constitutional. Teilborg also acquiesced to flimsy, unaccepted scientific evidence that fetuses, at 20 weeks, can feel pain (most doctors who didn't get their medical degree from It Says Right There In The Bible! University agree that they can't). But what about women, you may ask, can they feel pain? The answer is no. No, women cannot feel pain. Shhh. Thankfully, yesterday a 9th Circuit judge showed some damn sense and issued an emergency injunction blocking the law.