Florida clergy say abortion law violates religious freedom, seek temporary injunction

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Stating that Florida’s tough new abortion ban causes “immediate and irreparable harm to fundamental rights and cherished freedoms,” seven clergy on Thursday petitioned a state court for a temporary injunction so they can again freely advise believers according to their own religious values. and beliefs.

The application to Miami’s 11th Judicial Circuit Court comes a month after the same clerics sued Florida, claiming the law that took effect on July 1 violates their freedom of speech, religious freedom and the Clause establishment of the Constitution, “because it codifies a singular and exclusive religious belief without plausible secular justification,” the lawsuit charged.

The Florida law, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest, was signed in April by Governor Ron DeSantis (right) at a Pentecostal church alongside anti-abortion lawmakers such as the Speaker of the House , who called life a “gift from God”.

The plaintiffs are two Christians, three Jews, a Unitarian Universalist and a Buddhist.

Clerics Sue Florida Abortion Law, Saying It Violates Religious Liberty

They note in the lawsuit and documents filed Thursday that it is a crime to violate the abortion ban, including “participating” in a ban, which the clerics say under Florida law, appears to qualify as “advising or abetting” a crime.

“The plaintiff is prevented from providing spiritual guidance in accordance with his religious beliefs to his followers,” the documents state.

Opponents of Florida’s law, one of the toughest anti-abortion measures in the country, are arguing on multiple fronts. It prohibits abortions after 15 weeks.

Even before the law took effect, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Florida abortion providers and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit, citing a 1980 constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life. private. The state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the right to abortion was included, including for minors. And in 2012, Florida voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have removed abortion-related privacy protections.

Planned Parenthood won an initial injunction, suspending the law’s effectiveness, but a state appeal quickly reinstated the law until the plaintiffs could make their points.

Anti-abortion lawyer worked for years to overthrow Roe, but worries about next steps

Last Wednesday, a Florida appeals court formally denied the injunction request, saying the abortion providers and their co-plaintiffs could not prove “irreparable harm.” State law prohibits abortions after 15 weeks. The vast majority of abortions — about 9 in 10 — occur in the first trimester, which lasts about 12 to 14 weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The parties do not dispute that enforcement will not affect the majority of abortions provided,” Judge Brad Thomas said of the Planned Parenthood case, CBS reported.

With the legal theory of Planned Parenthood and its co-plaintiffs thrown out, the clerics’ lawyer, Marci Hamilton, said her clients needed to make their case urgently.

Clerics cite their religious scriptures and denominational policies, showing various beliefs about what it means to honor the inherent rights of humans — including those who bear children — and when life begins.

“The applicant has given sermons on reproductive justice and believes her role in advising and counseling women and girls facing these issues is to be a pillar of discernment and support as she makes her own decision “, reads the motion of the Reverend Tom Capo, a minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Miami.


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