Legal Wrap: Down to the Wire at SCOTUS, and Time to Take on TRAP


Legal Wrap is a round-up of key legal and reproductive justice news.

The Supreme Court term ends this month but already it’s clear that while this term will go down as historic, so will the Court’s next term. Instead of issuing decisions in the voting rights, affirmative action, or same-sex marriage cases last week, the Roberts Court announced it would take up the issue of whether laws that don’t show an intent to discriminate against a particular class of people but have still have a discriminatory impact can be considered constitutional. If it wasn’t clear before it should be now: The legacy of the Roberts Court will be undoing the civil rights gains of the 1960s and 1970s.

The Court is also considering when, and how, to re-enter the abortion debate, which is not good news at all.

In better Supreme Court news, the Roberts Court struck down the anti-prostitution pledge for U.S. organizations fighting HIV and AIDS abroad.

Texas Republicans are up to no good when it comes to legislating women’s health care. Their most recent attacks threaten to close nearly all the clinics in the state under the guise of ending abortion. But as Amy Hagstrom Miller points out, abortion didn’t magically appear after the Roe v. Wade decision; safe abortion did. And that’s what Republicans are after.

For those on the left who would write off the events in Texas as something we can just expect in a red state, Andrea Grimes has this spot-on rebuttal.

Congress continues to wrestle with meaningful immigration reform. Sheila Bapat explains how this reform would help women’s economic security.

In addition to comprehensive immigration reform, a new report detailing the pervasive problem of workplace pregnancy discrimination shows we’re well past due for Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

Both Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights have filed separate lawsuits challenging the massive Kansas anti-abortion omnibus bill.

Meanwhile, lawsuits challenging targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws passed in various states are mounting up. A judge in North Dakota will allow a lawsuit challenging TRAP provisions in that state to proceed, while women’s health advocates filed a lawsuit in Virginia arguing the TRAP regulations in that state are arbitrary and capricious.

Two female inmates have sued a Texas county for running a “rape camp” at the Live Oak County Jail. According to the allegations in the complaint, beginning sometime in 2007 and continuing through until at least 2010 numerous jailers repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates, and the sheriff’s office knew about it and did nothing to stop it.

Finally, let’s end with some good news. The Colorado supreme court ruled that a decision by an elementary school to prohibit a trans girl from using the girls’ bathroom was discriminatory. The ruling is the first of its kind in the United States and could inspire similar lawsuits in other jurisdictions. Progress!

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