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Indiana abortion ban challenged under religious freedom law

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Opponents of Indianas abortion ban set to take effect in a few days filed case Thursday arguing it could violate circumstances religious-freedom law that Republican lawmakers approved in 2015.

The lawsuit follows a different one filed the other day also challenging the abortion ban that the GOP-dominated Legislature and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb approved last month.

The lawsuit filed in Marion County court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana with respect to five anonymous residents and the group Hoosier Jews for Choice argues that the ban would violate their religious rights on if they believe abortion is acceptable. They’re citing circumstances law that then-Gov. Mike Pence signed on the objections of critics who said it allows discrimination against gay people.

Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indianas legal director, said in a statement that the religious-freedom law protects all Hoosiers, not only those that practice Christianity.

The ban on abortion will substantially burden the exercise of religion by many Hoosiers who, beneath the new law, will be prevented from obtaining abortions, incompatible making use of their sincere religious beliefs, Falk said.

Indiana was the initial state to enact tighter abortion restrictions following the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated federal protections by overturning Roe v. Wade in June. The ban that’s set to take effect Sept. 15 includes exceptions allowing abortions in cases of rape and incest, before 10 weeks post-fertilization; to safeguard the life span and physical health of mom; and when a fetus is identified as having a lethal anomaly. Current Indiana law generally prohibits abortions following the 20th week of pregnancy and tightly restricts it following the 13th week.

The ACLUs lawsuit contends that the brand new abortion ban would violate Jewish teaching a fetus attains the status of a full time income person only at birth and that Jewish law stresses the need of protecting the life span and physical and mental health of mom ahead of birth because the fetus isn’t yet deemed to become a person. In addition, it cites theological teachings allowing abortion in at the very least some circumstances by Islamic, Episcopal, Unitarian Universalist and Pagan faiths.

Indiana abortion clinic operators argued in case filed the other day that the ban would violate hawaii constitution. No court rulings have already been issued for the reason that lawsuit.

Republican state Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray and Republican state Attorney General Todd Rokita both issued statements Thursday saying they believe the abortion ban is proper beneath the state constitution, however they didn’t address arguments that it violates the religious freedom law.

No faith is monolithic on the abortion issue. Yet many followers of faiths that not prohibit abortion have lamented that tighter abortion laws could supersede their individual rights and religious beliefs, like the position of Judaism as outlined in the lawsuit.

An identical lawsuit has been filed in a minumum of one other state. A synagogue argued in June that Floridas abortion restrictions violates religious freedom rights of Jews. That case continues to be working its way through the courts.

Daniel Conkle, an Indiana University law professor who testified to get the states religious freedom law through the 2015 legislative debate, said it’ll be difficult to utilize that law to argue contrary to the abortion ban. He said the ACLU will need to show a person will be relying upon their religious beliefs in a considerable way in seeking an abortion.

I dont think its enough simply that their religion will not recognize a prohibition on abortion, Conkle said. I believe it must be more in the form of a considerable motivation than that.

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