Pro-choice activists claim abortion bans violate their religious freedom in new lawsuits
Pro-choice advocates across the United States have filed lawsuits against state with post-Roe-v. Wade abortion restrictions, arguing the new laws violate their religion freedom.
A report by Arleigh Rodgers, The Associated Press, and Report for America highlights a variety of cases in which lawyers claim that new abortion restrictions laws infringe upon the religious beliefs of women.
Courts have issued rulings in five different states in cases relating to abortion and religious liberty lawsuits since the Dobbs-v. Jackson ruling in June. There are currently 34 active lawsuits filed against 19 states’ abortion laws, according to a litigation tracker published by the Brennan Center for Justice and Center for Reproductive Rights.
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Abortion-rights protesters fill Indiana Statehouse corridors and cheer outside legislative chambers, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, as lawmakers vote to concur on a near-total abortion ban, in Indianapolis.
(AP Photo/Arleigh Rodgers, File)
In Indiana, the advocacy group Hoosier Jews for Choice, as well as the lawyers for five anonymous women of various religious backgrounds, including Jewish and Muslim, used this argument earlier this year. Their lawsuit, filed in September, argues that Jewish law places the mother’s health and life first than that of a foetus. Furthermore, Jewish studies often refer to a fetus only as a living person at birth.
On December 2, a judge ruled that Indianapolis’ abortion law violates the state’s religious freedom law, signed by former Republican Gov. Mike Pence in 2015, and could not be instituted. The appeal was made by the state’s attorney general’s Office against a ruling that sided with the group. It is expected that the State Supreme Court will hear the appeal.
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Supporters of abortion-rights are promoting their position at Kentucky Capitol
(AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner, File)
The state Supreme Court is also scheduled to hear another abortion ban lawsuit in January, which claims that the new abortion laws violate the state constitution by way of individual rights protections clauses. Separate lawsuits also focus on religion as the basis of their religion. They claim that the state is imposing a law upon citizens who don’t share the same beliefs and are thus implementing their own religion.
Three Jewish women from Kentucky made a similar argument, claiming that state laws regarding abortion violated their religious beliefs. They claim that Kentucky legislators have unconstitutionally imposed “sectarian doctrine” with their abortion restrictions. While the state Supreme Court reviews other cases challenging the law, the restrictions will remain in force.
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A group of anti-abortion protesters crashes the Women’s March Action Rally for Reproductive Rights at Mariachi Plaza in Los Angeles, California, on Oct. 8, 2022.
( DAVID MCNEW / AFP) (Photo by DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)
Law experts have said that lawsuits arguing that state legislators are establishing their own religion may be more effective in court versus an argument on the free exercise of religion violations. In July, Planned Parenthood successfully used the former argument in Utah.
The lawsuits in Florida and Wyoming focused on religious-liberty provisions and the state constitution’s privacy protections. These were used to end new abortion restrictions. The Wyoming law has been blocked and the state’s highest court has not indicated that they will weigh in on the ban. Florida’s restrictions remain in effect and may head to the Florida Supreme Court, despite clergy members of five religions suing the state over the law which criminalized abortion after 15 weeks.
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Nikolas Lanum is an associate editor for Fox News Digital.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.