These Three Court Rulings on Women's Health Will Give You a Rage HeadacheS

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.

The next stop on our Tour de Ugh lands us in South Dakota (which, unlike Arizona, is a terribly underrated state that everyone should visit, if only for the Mitchell Corn Palace), which currently has a law on the books requiring doctors to lie to women by telling them that having abortions puts them at higher risk of suicide than women who just go on ahead with 9 months of a pregnancy they do not want. Last Tuesday, the Eighth Circuit Court in St. Louis ruled that this is just fine; doctors don't have free speech rights that can be trampled upon, because it's totally within the purview of elected state legislators to use their positions to practice medicine on women they don't know and have never met. You read that right — it's just fine for states to require doctors to lie to patients. This could be read as bad news, or it could be read as excellent news, because I guess that means that now I can push for that law that requires doctors to tell dudes that if they hog, like, three seats on the subway by sitting with their lets too ridiculously wide open, it will cause their dicks to shrink. What's real is what is most comforting to my existing world view!

And, finally, let's not forget about a secular Colorado heating and air conditioning business (because — duh — there's no such thing as a churchy heating and air conditioning business, unless we're talking about that giant heating business located far below ground, the one that Satan uses to bake naughty people) that was granted the right to deny its female employees birth control coverage on the grounds that the owner of the business finds it icky. Religious freedom means freedom of oppression. It means the freedom to make other people's choices for them. In the Colorado case, thankfully, the judge specified that his injunction allows Hercules Industries to refuse to follow Obamacare's guidelines, but it doesn't stop the administration from enforcing them on anyone else. Like anyone adamantly against whore pills will listen to that.

So enjoy the free birth control while it lasts, and don't take it for granted. There are entire teams of jerks working feverishly to take it away from you, and they won't stop until everyone's either pregnant or chaste.

[NYT]