It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. First the court gave us a victory on LGBTQ employment rights and DACA. Then a flurry of cases targeting abortion. The 5-4 ruling that struck down a Louisiana law requiring a women’s clinic performing abortions to have admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles away, seemed to be a win as well. The WREN analysis notes: “The right to abortion is not real if you cannot access care.” In South Carolina, they note, 93 percent of counties, where 71 percent of all residents live, had no clinics providing abortions.
The next two cases were more revealing. In a 7-2 decision, the court shielded religious institutions from discrimination claims in the hiring or firing of staff members who are deemed to have a religious component to their work. That, WREN says, puts the more than 300,000 lay teachers and possibly nurses in Catholic hospitals in religious schools at risk.
Finally, the court, in another 7-2 decision, put tens of thousands of women’s access to birth control at risk by ruling that employers with religious objections do not have to provide it. WREN points out that birth control is often prescribed for management of health conditions like “endometriosis and fibroids that are more common among Black and Brown people.”