July 08, 2014 12:00 am  •  By Victoria Steele Special to the Arizona Daily Star Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions are a stark reminder that elections matter. Who would have believed that 41 years after the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, we’d still be fighting over women’s access to birth control and safe, legal abortion. Last week, in a decision that will likely affect millions of women, the Supreme Court ruled that employers can deny women access to birth control benefits based on a business owner’s personal religious beliefs. Earlier in June, the high court dealt another blow to women’s health when it struck down a buffer zone law that protects patients and staff members at clinics where abortions are provided. This ruling subjects women to running a gantlet of harassment from protesters as they are making private medical decisions. This year the Arizona Legislature passed a law allowing surprise inspections of women’s health clinics without a warrant. They also passed SB 1062, a law (vetoed by the governor) that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against people based on the owner’s personal religious beliefs. Within hours of the high court’s ruling, Cathy Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy — the same group behind the clinic-inspection law and the discriminatory SB 1062 — said the decision “breathes new life” into the center’s efforts, and it will revisit the issue when the new legislative session starts next January. This makes it even more imperative that you know where your legislators and candidates stand on these issues.
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