Supreme Court Refuses to Block Texas Abortion Ban, Agrees to Hear Two Cases Challenging the Law

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases challenging a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks, but refused to block the law while it considers the case—leaving Texans without access to safe, legal abortion health care. The Court set oral arguments for the cases on November 1.

“For the second time, the Court declines to act immediately to protect these women from grave and irreparable harm,” Justice Sotomayor wrote a searing dissent to the Court’s refusal to enjoin the law.

Pennsylvania Medicaid Abortion Coverage Ban Challenged Under State ERA: “Sex Discrimination, Pure and Simple”

Pennsylvania-based abortion providers and reproductive rights lawyers filed their brief in a lawsuit—Allegheny Reproductive Health Center v. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services—asking the state’s Supreme Court to strike down the Pennsylvania ban on Medicaid funding for abortion as a violation of the Equal Rights Amendment and equal protection provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

California Law Eliminates Spousal Rape Exemption—But “Patriarchy Still Dies Hard”

Up to 14 percent of married women experience marital rape. Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill mostly eliminating an antiquated distinction in California law between “spousal rape” and rape, which has for years resulted in more lenient penalties for perpetrators who rape their spouses.

“The first question a rape victim is asked should not be whether or not they are married.”

California Law Bans “Condom Stealthing”: Removing a Condom Without Consent Is “A Grave Violation of Dignity and Autonomy”

Stealthing, the act of removing a condom during sex without consent, has been prohibited in California.

“I have been working on the issue of ‘stealthing’ since 2017 and I am elated that there is now some accountability for those who perpetrate the act,” said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who authored the law. “This law is the first of its kind in the nation, but I urge other states to follow in California’s direction and make it clear that stealthing is not just immoral but illegal.”

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Kentucky Abortion Ban: “The Right to Abortion Is Hanging by a Thread”

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in one of three abortion cases before the Court this term that will determine the future of abortion rights in the U.S. EMW Women’s Surgical Center v. Cameron involves a Kentucky law effectively banning abortion at 15 weeks. The law blocks physicians from providing a medically safe and standard abortion method called dilation and evacuation, or “D&E.”

“Two courts already held that this law violates the rights of Kentuckians. The Supreme Court ought to put an end to the attorney general’s attempts to force people to continue their pregnancies against their will.”

Texas Law Prohibiting Mailing Abortion Pills Won’t Stop Texans Seeking Pills Online

On the heels of Texas’s newly-enacted abortion ban—blocked by a federal court on Oct. 6, then reinstated on Oct. 8 by the Fifth Circuit Court—Governor Greg Abbott signed into law S.B. 4 making it a felony for doctors to mail abortion pills to a patient. The law applies only to doctors and explicitly exempts pregnant people from criminal penalties for ordering pills online.

But unless Texas is willing to post abortion police at every woman’s mailbox to check and intercept her mail, Texans will still have access to medication abortion online and through the mail.

From Sexual Assault to Parental Leave and Childcare, Military Funding Bill Will “Kick the Military into the 21st Century”

Rampant violence against women in the military has gone largely unaddressed, despite repeated promises by military leaders. But now, new legislation in Congress might finally force the military to change.

“After a decade of fighting to remove cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment from the chain of command, and seeing hundreds of thousands of survivors further victimized and failed by the military justice system, we are finally taking this earth-shaking leap forward and making clear to all that sexual violence has no place in our fighting forces,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who co-sponsored over 45 major provisions adopted in the House-passed version of the annual defense policy bill.

Trump’s Title X Gag Rule Reversed by HHS: “Patients Deserve Accurate and Comprehensive Information About Their Health Options”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reversed a Trump-era policy prohibiting healthcare providers who receive Title X funds from informing patients about the full range of reproductive healthcare options, including abortion.

“Now, our Title X family planning program can once again function in the way it’s meant to—by providing patients with birth control, STI screenings and cancer screenings that keep them healthy, and by informing them about all their options, including their right to abortion.”

Fifth Circuit Reinstates Texas Abortion Ban: “The Fight Is Far From Over”

On Wednesday, a federal district court in Texas temporarily blocked the state’s six-week abortion ban in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. In a 113-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin ruled that the law—S.B. 8—is an unconstitutional violation of the right to abortion established by previous Supreme Court cases.

“From the moment SB8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution,” said Judge Pitman. “This Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.”