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Legal Challenges: Abortion Bans and Religious Freedom in the U.S. Courts

Legal Challenges: Abortion Bans and Religious Freedom in the U.S. Courts
Legal Challenges: Abortion Bans and Religious Freedom in the U.S. Courts

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the right to abortion two years ago, a new legal tactic has emerged to challenge state abortion bans: framing them as violations of religious freedom by imposing a Christian perspective on when life begins. This approach suffered setbacks recently in Kentucky and Missouri.

In Kentucky, three Jewish mothers sued over the state’s near-total abortion ban, arguing it infringed on their religious freedom under Kentucky’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. However, their case was dismissed because they were not pregnant and therefore lacked standing, according to Judge Brian Edwards of Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Similarly, in Missouri, a coalition of clergy representing various faiths failed to halt the state’s abortion ban on grounds that it imposed one religious tradition’s beliefs over others. Judge Jason Sengheiser of St. Louis Circuit Court acknowledged the complexity but did not rule in their favor.

Legal Challenges: Abortion Bans and Religious Freedom in the U.S. Courts
Legal Challenges: Abortion Bans and Religious Freedom in the U.S. Courts

Despite these setbacks, advocates are planning appeals in both states. They argue that the issue of when life begins, often cited as a reason for abortion restrictions, should not be equated with a universal religious belief. Ben Potash, a lawyer involved in the Kentucky case, emphasized that the appeal will address practical concerns affecting families using assisted reproductive technologies like IVF.

In Indiana, however, there was a positive development when the Court of Appeals upheld a challenge by Hoosier Jews for Choice, affirming that the state’s abortion ban infringed on their religious beliefs under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Rachel Laser, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, highlighted the pioneering nature of these arguments in court. She stressed that despite recent legal setbacks, they remain committed to fighting for reproductive rights under the banner of religious freedom across multiple states.

These cases underscore a broader legal and ideological struggle over reproductive rights and religious freedom in the wake of shifting legal landscapes and judicial interpretations. As appeals progress and new challenges emerge, the intersection of abortion rights and religious liberties continues to be fiercely debated in courts and society alike.

Devendra Kumar

Written by Devendra Kumar

Devendra has been creating news reels for almost a decade now and he wants to share his knowledge and experience here at MiceNewsPH. You can reach out to him at [email protected]

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