Legal Wrap: Important Steps Toward Trans Inclusivity in Maine


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

The legal landscape for the trans community is improving, albeit slowly. Last week, Maine’s highest court handed down a historic decision in favor of transgender student rights when it ruled school officials discriminated against Nicole Maines, a transgender girl who was forced to use a staff, rather than a student, bathroom. It’s the first time a state’s highest court has ruled on the question of bathroom access for transgender students, and while the federal courts have not yet ruled on the issue, the opinions piling up in favor of equality represents a crucial shift at the state level.

Here’s another important shift when it comes to transgender rights: The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology announced last week that it would lift a ban, imposed last September, that prevented its members from treating men. The shift is an important step in trans inclusivity and came after months of protest by both patients and doctors. As Molly Knefel argues here, these kinds of shifts are necessary because many transgender individuals continue to experience disturbing levels of discrimination from health-care providers.

This piece by Sofia Resnick detailing Americans United for Life’s ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in pushing to end insurance coverage for abortion is an absolute must-read.

A suburban Cincinnati abortion clinic can stay open while it challenges state officials’ attempts to close it under a new law that requires clinics to enter into transfer agreements with local hospitals.

In Alaska, reproductive rights advocates have challenged attempts to narrow Medicaid coverage for abortions in the state.

The University of Notre Dame has once again asked a federal court to block the contraception mandate, despite the fact that it is already receiving an accommodation from the Obama administration and does not have to comply with it.

At the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer argues that to make big electoral gains Republicans should “debunk the war on women” by making later abortion bans a top priority. Um, OK.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant apparently is on board with Krauthammer’s strategy. During his “state of the state” address, he announced his goal to end access to legal abortion in the state.

Ending on a good note, the New York State Assembly passed the Women’s Equality Act. Emily Crockett has the latest on the legislation, which would, among other things, codify a right to choose an abortion and attempt to reduce gender-based pay discrimination.

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Follow Jessica Mason Pieklo on twitter: @hegemommy