Judge to decide whether Indiana’s abortion ban violates religious rights


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — On Friday, Indiana’s top attorney Lawsuits filed by resident groups Those who argue that the state’s abortion ban violates religious liberty.

A judge spent about an hour in an Indianapolis courtroom Friday on claims from five anonymous residents of Jewish, Muslim, and spiritual faith, as well as claims from the Hoosier Jewish group for selection. Spurred. They argue that the ban, which violates religious rights regarding when to believe abortion is permissible, is now blocked due to another lawsuit.

The lawsuit argued that the ban violated the Jewish teaching that “the unborn child acquires the status of a living person only at birth,” and that “Jewish law precludes the life and physical and mental health of the mother before birth.” emphasizes the need to protect the It also cites theological teachings by Islamic, Anglican, Unitarian Universalist, and pagan faiths that permit abortion in at least some circumstances.

“States cannot decide what is religious and what is secular,” said Ken Falk, Indiana’s legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, on Friday.

A religious freedom lawsuit filed in Marion County Court Second of two challenges to ban Submitted by the ACLU.it cites state law Signed by then-government Mike Pence In 2015, it called for banning laws that “substantially burden” an individual’s ability to follow their religious beliefs. Critics have accused the Republican-backed measure of a thinly disguised attempt to allow discrimination against homosexuals.

In response to the Religious Freedom appeal, the state attorney general’s office said the anonymous stories cited in the lawsuit were too abstract to be analyzed, stating, “The harm they allege about changes in contraception and sexual practices is It does not outweigh the serious consequences of murder,” he added, an unborn child. ”

Attorney General Thomas Fisher echoed that allegation on Friday, arguing that the “hypothetical” reason for the abortion by the anonymous plaintiff did not meet the “case-specific fact-finding” requirements of the Religious Freedom Act.

“Not when abortion is becoming part of a religious movement,” Fisher said.

Marion County Judge Heather Welch said both sides must submit additional written arguments by Oct. 28, after which she will make a decision within 30 days.

Other ACLU lawsuits Revolving around the allegation that the ban violated the state constitution, Anything Indiana Supreme Court On Wednesday, he said he would consider it next year.

The High Court accepted an appeal of a September judge’s decision to block the ban a week after it went into effect, denying the state’s request to withdraw the temporary ban. A hearing on the lawsuit, which the abortion clinic operator filed in his August, is scheduled for Jan. 12.

As the state Supreme Court is considering another case, Fisher said an interim injunction against religious liberty would only have “symbolic implications.”

“Symbolic rulings are not the court’s role,” Fisher, the head of Indiana’s Republican Attorney General Todd Lokita, said Friday.

But Falk told reporters after the hearing that a second preliminary injunction against the ban would provide more certainty, especially since the lawsuit deals with another aspect of the law. rice field.

Abortion bans, including narrow exceptions, approved by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature It was signed by Republican Governor Eric Holcomb on August 5. That makes Indiana the first state to enact tougher abortion restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned her Roe v. Wade decision in June to abolish federal abortion protections. .

There is no monolithic belief on the issue of abortion. However, many adherents of religions that do not forbid abortion lamented stricter abortion laws It may supersede personal rights and religious beliefs, such as the Jewish position outlined in the lawsuit.

Similar lawsuits have recently been filed elsewhere. kentucky And in Florida In June the synagogue claimed that state abortion restrictions violated Jewish religious freedom rights.


Arleigh Rodgers is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Reporting to America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues. Follow her on Twitter. twitter.com/arleighrodgers