Religious leaders sue to block Missouri’s abortion ban

ST. LOUIS — A group of religious leaders who support abortion rights filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging Missouri’s abortion ban, saying lawmakers invoked their religious

beliefs while drafting the measure and thereby imposed those beliefs on others who don’t share them. The lawsuit filed in St. Louis is the latest of many to challenge

abortion laws enacted by conservative lawmakers after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. That landmark ruling left abortion rights up to each state to

decide. Since then, religious abortion rights supporters have increasingly used religious freedom lawsuits in seeking to protect abortion access. The religious freedom

complaints are among nearly three dozen post-Roe lawsuits that have been filed against 19 states’ abortion bans, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The Missouri

lawsuit brought on behalf of 13 Christian and Jewish leaders seeks a permanent injunction barring the state from enforcing its abortion law and a declaration that provisions of

its law violate the Missouri Constitution. “What the lawsuit says is that when you legislate your religious beliefs into law, you impose your beliefs on everyone else and

force all of us to live by your own narrow beliefs,” said Michelle Banker of the National Women’s Law Center, the lead lawyer in the case. “And that hurts us. That denies our

basic human rights.” Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, a Republican, called the lawsuit foolish. “We were acting on the belief that life is precious and

should be treated as such,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a religious belief.”