UNITED STATES NEWS

Hearing Thursday in religious leaders’ lawsuit challenging Missouri abortion ban

Nov 15, 2023, 10:01 PM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis judge on Thursday will hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging Missouri’s abortion ban on the grounds that lawmakers who passed the measure imposed their own religious beliefs on others who don’t share them.

The lawsuit was filed in January on behalf of 13 Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist leaders who support abortion rights. It seeks a permanent injunction barring the state from enforcing its abortion law, and a declaration that provisions of the law violate the Missouri Constitution.

It is among 38 lawsuits filed in 23 states challenging restrictive abortion laws enacted by conservative states after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The landmark ruling left abortion rights up to each state to decide.

The lawsuit states the Missouri Constitution “does not tolerate this establishment into law of one particular religious view at the expense of others’ religious freedom and of the health and lives of millions of Missourians.”

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, a Republican, has called the lawsuit “foolish” and said lawmakers “were acting on the belief that life is precious and should be treated as such,” not a religious belief.

Within minutes of last year’s Supreme Court decision, then-Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Gov. Mike Parson, both Republicans, filed paperwork to immediately enact a 2019 law prohibiting abortions “except in cases of medical emergency.” That law contained a provision making it effective only if Roe v. Wade was overturned.

The law makes it a felony punishable by 5 to 15 years in prison to perform or induce an abortion. Medical professionals who do so also could lose their licenses. The law says that women who undergo abortions cannot be prosecuted.

Missouri already had some of the nation’s more restrictive abortion laws and had seen a significant decline in the number of abortions performed, with residents instead traveling to clinics just across the state line in Illinois and Kansas.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the faith leaders by Americans United for Separation of Church & State and the National Women’s Law Center, said sponsors and supporters of the Missouri measure “repeatedly emphasized their religious intent in enacting the legislation.”

It quotes the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Nick Schroer, as saying that “as a Catholic I do believe life begins at conception and that is built into our legislative findings.” A co-sponsor, Republican state Rep. Barry Hovis, said he was motivated “from the Biblical side of it,” according to the lawsuit.

Lawsuits in other states take similar approaches.

In Indiana, lawyers for five anonymous women — who are Jewish, Muslim and spiritual — and advocacy group Hoosier Jews for Choice argued that state’s ban infringes on their beliefs. Their lawsuit specifically highlights the Jewish teaching that a fetus becomes a living person at birth and that Jewish law prioritizes the mother’s life and health. A state appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments Dec. 6.

In Kentucky, three Jewish women sued, claiming the state’s ban violates their religious rights under the state’s constitution and religious freedom law. They allege that Kentucky’s Republican-dominated legislature “imposed sectarian theology” by prohibiting nearly all abortions.

United States News

Actor Alec Baldwin hugs a member of his legal team after the judge threw out the involuntary mansla...

Associated Press

What’s next for Alec Baldwin after manslaughter case dismissal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A New Mexico judge dismissed the involuntary manslaughter case against Alec Baldwin over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in a sudden move Friday. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer dismissed the case based on the misconduct of police and prosecutors over the withholding of evidence from the defense. She said the […]

33 minutes ago

People walk past the Fiserv Forum ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Thursday, July ...

Associated Press

Republicans are gathering in Milwaukee to nominate Donald Trump again. Here’s what to expect

The Republican National Convention that opens Monday is different from Donald Trump's previous nominating affairs. Here's what to expect.

33 minutes ago

Associated Press

Judge rejects effort by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson to get records from Catholic church

SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state judge said Friday that Attorney General Bob Ferguson is not entitled to enforce a subpoena seeking decades of records from the Seattle Archdiocese, despite his assertion that the records are needed to learn whether the Catholic church used charitable trust funds to cover up sexual abuse by priests. Judge […]

1 hour ago

FILE - An unidentified representative of the junta waves from a military vehicle as Malians support...

Associated Press

Terrorism and organized crime rampant in Sahel and spilling into West Africa coastal states, UN says

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Terrorism and organized crime by violent extremist groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State are a “pervasive threat” in Africa’s volatile Sahel region and are spilling over to West Africa’s coastal countries, the top U.N. envoy for the area warned Friday. Leonardo Simão, the U.N. special representative for the Sahel […]

1 hour ago

FILE - The AT&T logo is positioned above one of its retail stores in New York, Oct. 24, 2016. A...

KTAR.com

Data of nearly all AT&T customers downloaded to a third-party platform in security breach

The data of nearly all customers of the telecommunications giant AT&T was downloaded to a third-party platform in a security breach, the company said Friday.

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Federal appeals court says there is no fundamental right to change one’s sex on a birth certificate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court panel ruled 2-1 on Friday that Tennessee does not unconstitutionally discriminate against transgender people by not allowing them to change the sex designation on their birth certificates. “There is no fundamental right to a birth certificate recording gender identity instead of biological sex,” 6th U.S. Circuit Court […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Hearing Thursday in religious leaders’ lawsuit challenging Missouri abortion ban