Illustration by Michelle Budge, Deseret News
As the country prepares for the Supreme Court to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, some Americans are looking to religious freedom law as a way to protect abortion rights.
The thinking goes that members of faith groups that allow for or even require abortions under certain circumstances could cite religious exercise protections to challenge laws limiting abortion access.
But would such lawsuits be successful? Here’s what legal experts say about the relationship between religious freedom and abortion rights:
What’s happening with Roe v. Wade?
The surge in interest in religious freedom law stems from a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion obtained and published by Politico earlier this month. The draft shows that at least five justices are interested in overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, past rulings that guarantee a right to an abortion until the point of fetal viability, which is around 24 weeks.
If the Supreme Court’s final ruling — which is expected sometime in the next seven weeks — does overturn Roe and Casey, then the power to set abortion rules would return to the states. More than a dozen states already have so-called “trigger laws” on the books that would ban abortion in most cases when they take effect.
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How does religious freedom fit into the debate?
In response to the leak, many religious groups and individual people of faith have shared their support for abortion rights. They’re working to correct the common assumption that all religions are rooting for Roe to be overturned, said Elizabeth Reiner Platt, director of the Law, Rights and Religion Project at Columbia Law School
“There’s both a very rich history and current practice of folks seeing abortion care as a religious and moral calling,” she said.
In the months and years ahead, those beliefs could be cited in lawsuits against abortion …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News
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