Trump's transgender military ban continues while the Reproductive Health Act ratifies in NYC.

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1.25.2019

This Week in Women: Fighting For Protections

This week has demanded extra coffee and an eye on the headlines as we regrouped from Saturday’s Women’s March. In this edition of This Week in Women we are covering critical legal developments—from the Transgender Military Ban to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade—and the subsequent effects on the civil rights of so many across our country.

Transgender Military Ban Begins After Supreme Court Non-Decision

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted in an unsigned order (5-4) to not take a position and declined to hear cases on the Trump Administration’s ban against transgender individuals’ participation in the military, effectively allowing the ban to go into effect. The controversy began in July 2017, stemming from controversial tweets from President Trump: “(The US military) must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The Supreme Court’s non-decision on the transgender military ban ignited a storm of immediate criticism from civil rights activists. The Human Rights Campaign cites that over 15,000 transgender troops are immediately effected and “at risk.”

“Allowing Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s transgender troop ban to go into effect harms both transgender service members and our national security,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride in an official statement. “As this critical matter makes its way through the courts, brave transgender patriots deserve to have their constitutional rights protected. Today’s decision thrusts this administration’s discriminatory agenda onto a military that clearly doesn’t want it, and does so at the expense of transgender people’s careers and service—and we remain committed to fighting for all transgender troops and thank Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN for their tireless work representing us in this case.”

46 Years Later After Roe v. Wade

46 years after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision, Roe v. Wade is still a hot button topic. The 1973 ruling and the change to the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment set into motion a revolution—a nationwide legal protection for women to be in charge of their reproductive health and their bodies.

Since that time state courts and legislatures have had their fair share of battles, deciding and amending the timelines and methods in which women can access abortion services. According to a recent Pew Poll, abortion continues to be a central issue for voters on both sides of the aisle.

This week, two states made headlines coinciding with the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The New York legislature took steps to codify a law, the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), that decriminalizes certain portions of the existing legal guidelines for abortion services in New York, including access to an abortion if the women’s health was in danger (not just life) or if the fetus was determined not viable after the 24-week mark. The passage of the RHA means that women will not have to travel out-of-state for these circumstances to get the healthcare they need. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to ratify RHA within the next 30 days.

Pro-choice advocates scored another victory in the heartland this week, as the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the nation’s most restrictive abortion law. Nicknamed the “Fetal Heartbeat,” it was signed into law in May 2018 and outlawed most abortion procedures after six weeks. On Tuesday, Polk County District Judge Michael Huppert struck it down as violation against the Iowa constitution and deemed it non-enforceable.

“At Planned Parenthood, we’re here to provide nonjudgmental support and factual, medically accurate information so that every patient can make their own personal decision about a pregnancy based on their own values, desires and needs, without political interference,” Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s medical director, Dr. Jill Meadows, said in a statement. “We are pleased that especially today, on the 46th anniversary of the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, abortion care was upheld as a safe and legal part of basic reproductive healthcare.”

Featured image via NBC

Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.

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