‘Theocratic’ abortion bans will violate religious liberty, faith leaders say

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‘Theocratic’ abortion bans will violate religious liberty, faith leaders say

Post by Gunnar »

‘Theocratic’ abortion bans will violate religious liberty, faith leaders say
It is important and well worth noting that this is obviously true, even according to many people who claim to be deeply religious. It should be even more obviously true to all who understand and respect the U.S. Constitution's first amendment prohibition of establishing any particular religion.
Misha Sanders was starting over. She had just left an abusive relationship, and she was in her first semester of seminary, all while caring for her child, a teenager with a pressing health problem.

That’s when she found out she was pregnant. Sanders took misoprostol and mifepristone, the two drugs known collectively as the abortion pill, to end the pregnancy.

The decision, she says, was deeply entwined with her religious beliefs, which include respecting full bodily autonomy and caring for other people – core beliefs of Unitarian Universalism, which she practices.

“The only decision that I could make, as a loving mother, was to focus on mothering this child that I brought into the world and terminating this new pregnancy,” Sanders said. “It was absolutely the right decision.”

But Sanders now lives in Georgia, which could pass restrictions on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy if Roe v Wade is overturned in the coming weeks.

Reproductive rights are under threat in the US as states implement harsher restrictions and the supreme court weighs a case that is widely expected to reverse the constitutional right to abortion.

But while religious arguments around the issue are commonly associated with the anti-abortion movement, abortion restrictions can violate the right to religious liberty, faith leaders and legal experts say. And some organizations are already gearing up for possible legal challenges to looming abortion bans.

Religious liberty for people of all faiths is protected under the US constitution, state constitutions and federal statutes.

In Judaism, abortion is usually seen as permissible and even required in cases where the patient’s life is at risk. In Islam, scholars contend that abortion is allowed for the first 120 days, after which it’s seen as a civil – not a criminal – issue, and it’s permitted at any time when the health of the mother is in danger. Other believers, including within Christianity, focus on the sacredness of the individual or the family to make such decisions, rather than prosecutors or lawmakers.
I found it particularly interesting that despite the Catholic Churche's official stance on abortion, the percentage of Catholics who believe abortion should be legal is actually higher than the percentage of devout protestants who accept that.
Personal beliefs can even contravene the dictums of established religions; for instance, Catholics for Choice believe they have a religious duty to protect reproductive health despite the Catholic church’s stance against abortion.

Nearly half of Protestants and 56% of Catholics believe abortion should be legal in some or all cases, according to a Pew Research survey published in May. More than half of Muslims, 82% of Buddhists and 83% of Jews believe the same, according to a different Pew study from 2014.
The real basis for Roe vs. Wade (rather than just the right of privacy) in my opinion should have been:
With abortion bans, some clergy object to what they see as a “Christian theocratic imposition on entire swaths of our country”, as Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, scholar-in-residence at the National Council of Jewish Women, put it.

“There are very serious religious liberty questions here,” Ruttenberg said. “If you ban abortion, when my religious tradition tells me that I am a) permitted and b) possibly required to access abortion care, you are limiting my free exercise of religion.”
Sanders is particularly concerned about the ways restrictions on reproductive rights and trans rights are growing and intersecting. “It’s so terrifying,” she said. She believes it is “an egregious sin” to cause harm to someone by denying them healthcare or human rights.

“We, as Unitarian Universalists, believe fully that all human beings should have bodily autonomy, and anything that happens in or to my body should be my choice,” she said.

“To me, the law of the land and [religious] law are two separate and distinct things. It’s great when they overlap. And when they don’t, I’m going to choose morality over the law every time. And for me, that includes helping people in whatever way I can, for whatever reason they are seeking abortion.”
No precept or claim is more suspect or more likely to be false than one that can only be supported by invoking the claim of Divine authority for it--no matter who or what claims such authority.
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