Once again the final week of June brings good news out of the U.S. Supreme Court!
In the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case, the Court struck down a Texas law masquerading as a measure protecting women’s health but really meant to effectively outlaw abortion. As we did for marriage equality, GSBA led our community in signing on to an amicus brief of business leaders. Supporting everyone’s right to make decision about their own bodies has been central to LGBT civil rights. Attacks on women’s health are being waged for the same reasons and by the same people who oppose LGBT civil rights, public accommodations and legal protections. Supporting a woman’s right to choose has been an explicit platform in GSBA’s legislative agenda for years, and we are proud of all our members who heeded the call and added their names to the brief.
The Court also declined to hear an appeal of the Stormans v. Wiesman case challenging a Washington State law that requires pharmacies to fill prescriptions regardless of objections based on religious beliefs. This case is deeply connected to GSBA and our community – our close partners at Legal Voice led the fight for our right to access safe, legal and necessary healthcare and our own Representative Laurie Jinkins was an original defendant in the suit. While the immediate case was based on an unwillingness of the pharmacy to stock Plan B, it is intrinsically linked with the right of LGBT people and HIV/AIDS patients to receive proper healthcare. Even if a business were to refer service to another location, this puts a significant burden on the customer. The threat is especially grave in rural areas where providers may be few and far between. “The Constitution may protect an individual’s religious freedom, but it does not give them a veto over the health care needs of others,” said Janet Chung, Legal & Legislative Counsel for Legal Voice.
Women’s rights are LGBT rights. The right to make decisions over your own body and to receive safe, legal and necessary healthcare can never be pushed aside as a niche issue – it impacts each of us in our daily lives. GSBA sends a heartfelt thanks to the tireless advocates at Legal Voice for the exceptional work that they have put into securing the rights of women and LGBT people for years.