Religion must not substitute for science in the abortion debate

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Editor’s Note: After SB 8 came into effect on September 1, staff at the Brennan Center for Justice gathered to show solidarity, express outrage and formulate a response. This conversation turned into an electrifying brainstorm with colleagues from Mrs., the result of which is captured in a series of trials that provide 11 different answers to an important question: Why is abortion so essential to democracy? By joining our voices, we demonstrate that the fight for the right to abortion, the fight for equality and the fight for representative democracy all serve the same goal: justice for all.


“Catholics for Choice” buttons at Abortion Justice Rally October 2 in Washington, DC Even within religious denominations, views on abortion vary widely. (Leigh Vogel / Getty Images)

When Gov. Greg Abbott signed Texas Law SB 8, he provided an oft-heard reason why Lone Star State effectively bans almost all abortions: “Our creator gave us the right to life. “

Abbott’s religious invocation to justify Texas law, of course, begs the question: Who owns a creator’s vision, exactly? The United States is more diverse now that it never has been. We are a country of over 330 million people who practice all the major religions of the world, with a growing number of followers.nothing in particular. “Opinions on abortion vary widely, both between and within religious denominations.

All of these perspectives are equally protected by the Constitution of the United States – by the First Amendment establishment and exercise clauses – which together protect the fundamental right to have religious beliefs of one’s choice while ensuring that the government remains neutral on matters of faith. .

The United States is more diverse now than it ever has been. Views on abortion vary widely, both between and within faiths.

Among the most deeply shameful moments in our country’s history has been the legal system’s justification for brutal racism and discrimination based on religion – dating back to at least 1852, when the Missouri Supreme Court ruled confirmed slavery in America in a opinion asserting: “The introduction of slavery among us was… in the providence of God. ”

Alarmingly, we are approaching a disturbing mix of religion and government on the issue of abortion in several states, not limited to Texas. During a session of the Arkansas Legislature this year, a state senator proclaimed, “There are six things that God hates, and one of them is people who shed innocent blood.

A representative for the State of Mississippi who co-wrote the 15-week abortion ban challenged in the Supreme Court this term in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization affirmed in her defense of the ban she “believes children are a gift from God”. Several of his colleagues in the Mississippi House of Representatives have also invoked their personal religious views to justify unconstitutional restrictions on abortion.

Their constituents, of course, may disagree about the morality of abortion. Just look at the huge range of “friend of the court” memoir filed with the Supreme Court in Dobbs understand the complexity and breadth of religious views that coexist in the United States. For example, Catholics for choice and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expose divergent views on what it means to adhere to the Catholic faith. The memory of a group defenders for reproductive rights in the teachings of the church, while the other interprets those same teachings to portray abortion as an “unspeakable crime”.

The same is true of various Jewish organizations and religious leaders who embrace a wide range of understandings and interpretations of the role and admissibility of abortion in Judaism and have deposit duel briefs. Some Lutheran and Protestant groups have registered their support for the Mississippi ban, while some Muslim, Presbyterian, humanist and atheist groups want the court to overturn it.

The very problems that the First Amendment was designed to avoid – public division and social strife based on religious difference – are fully exposed.

Diversity of thought exists within every religion and includes those who believe that their faith obliges them to support reproductive rights, in general, and abortion, in particular. The end Dr George Tiller, for example, who was assassinated just over a decade ago by an anti-choice fanatic, was known to be a devout Lutheran who viewed his practice of abortion as a spiritual call. Another vendor, Dr Ben Brown, recently tweeted how he believe his “work is an expression of [his] Quaker values. Religious leaders like the Reverend William J. Barber II of the Poor People’s Campaign have long since sustained reproductive justice as part of their religious missions, and many others have expressed their support for access to abortion after passing SB 8.

The late Dr George Tiller, who was assassinated over a decade ago by an anti-choice fanatic, was known to be a devout Lutheran who viewed his practice of abortion as a spiritual calling.

Lawmakers and political leaders who tout religious justifications for restrictions on abortion not only ignore these different powerful beliefs, but aim to enshrine a narrow theological interpretation in law. Since predictability abortion bans like those at issue in Texas and Mississippi do not serve a clear secular purpose, they have no effect on the overall rate at which women seek abortions, are not linked to a medical determination that the fetus could survive on its own, and in fact increase rates maternal mortality and mortality — it is doubly dangerous that religion is used as a policy indicator or a substitute for science.

The First Amendment gives us the right to debate the meaning of life and when it begins. But he also says that such debates have no place in our legislatures or our courts if we are to be a society that promotes religious freedom for all.

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