Religious Leaders Unite to Challenge Missouri’s Abortion Ban in CourtNovember 16, 2023
The lawsuit challenging Missouri’s abortion ban is being prepared by more than a dozen religious leaders. They argue that the restrictions violate religious freedom and the state constitution. A St. Louis judge will hear arguments in the case, which challenges the state’s total ban on the procedure. The ban came into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion on June 28, 2022. The lawsuit, filed by the nonprofit Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the National Women’s Law Center, and the private law firm Arnold & Porter, represents leaders from six faith traditions. They claim that GOP lawmakers and Gov. Michael Parson violated the state constitution by enacting abortion bans as part of House Bill 126. The measure makes it a felony to perform or induce an abortion, punishable by five to 15 years in prison, and medical providers could lose their licenses. The faith leaders argue that the state’s ban on abortion is an attack on Missourians’ constitutional rights to live free from the religious dictates of others. They say state officials are weaponizing their religious beliefs to control the bodies of pregnant people. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction barring the state from enforcing the law and asks the court to declare that provisions of the law violate the Missouri Constitution.