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Blogs comment on Ohio's unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban, the negotiated repeal of N.C.'s anti-transgender law and more

Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at Feministing, Salon and more.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS:

"Sorry Gov. Kasich, no cookies: Ohio's 20-week abortion ban is still unconstitutional," Meghna Sridhar, Feministing: Ohio Gov. John Kasich's (R) decision to sign into law a 20-week abortion ban (SB 127) is "a reprehensible and clearly unconstitutional move designed to blatantly flout Supreme Court precedent," Sridhar writes. Noting that Kasich vetoed a separate measure (HB 493) that would have banned abortion care as early as six weeks into pregnancy, Sridhar asserts that "it's imperative for us to point out: [Kasich's] 20-week 'compromise' remains just as unforgivable." Sridhar explains that the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey clarified that the right to abortion care "extended up to the point of fetal viability," which the high court "set ... at 23-24 weeks." Sridhar writes, "While Ohio's new abortion restrictions may seem like a closer call" than the six-week ban, "they still violate the due process clause of the United States constitution by blocking access to lifesaving healthcare, and denying bodily autonomy." Further, Sridhar notes that while "20-week abortion bans have been repeatedly deployed by states as a backdoor means of restricting abortions more than they are legally allowed to," such bans "are still overwhelmingly considered to be unconstitutional." According to Sridhar, courts have struck down 20-week bans in Arizona and Idaho, while the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have launched a legal challenge against a similar ban in North Dakota. Sridhar concludes, "We must not let the pyrrhic victory of Kasich's veto distract us from Ohio's attempt to join the ranks of states implementing illegal restrictions and bans on abortions, and use the momentum generated in protesting the [six-week ban] to still keep the state's legislature in check" (Sridhar, Feministing, 12/17).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Abortions don't harm women, but abortion bans do," Steve Williams, Care2.

~ "Why do states keep wasting money on doomed abortion bills?" Erin Gloria Ryan, Daily Beast.

LGBT RIGHTS:

"North Carolina Republications agree to repeal of HB2 in exchange for repeal of nondiscrimination ordinance," Sophia Tesfaye, Salon: "[T]he Charlotte City Council on Monday voted 10-0, with one member absent, to rescind its controversial nondiscrimination ordinance" as part of a political compromise "contingent on North Carolina legislators repealing HB2 by Dec. 31," Tesfaye writes. According to Tesfaye, the nondiscrimination ordinance, passed in February, "amended the city’s code to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the list of protected characteristics in public accommodations rules." Among other protections, the ordinance "enabled transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity," she writes. However, Tesfaye explains that state lawmakers "in March in response to Charlotte's nondiscrimination efforts ... passed the so-called bathroom bill" (HB 2), which "keeps local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances and also restricts transgender people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity." According to Tesfaye, Monday's vote stems from a compromise between Governor-elect Roy Cooper (D), who wanted to repeal HB 2 before a supermajority of state lawmakers takes office in January, and Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who in exchange for the council vote promised to "call a special session to consider repeal of [HB 2]." Noting the legal and economic ramifications of HB 2, Tesfaye in conclusion cites Cooper, who said the law's repeal "'will help to bring jobs, sports, and entertainment events back, and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state'" (Tesfaye, Salon, 12/19).

What others are saying about LGBT rights:

~ "Appeals court: Transgender girl must be permitted to use the girls' restroom in school," Mark Joseph Stern, Slate's "XX Factor."