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Reblogged:'Religious Freedom' Won't Save Abortion

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A synagogue in Florida has legally challenged that state's ban on abortions after 15 weeks on the bases of that state's constitutional right to privacy, and religious freedom.

The attorney filing the suit sounds like he's on the right track in this quote:
In an interview Tuesday, [Barry] Silver said when separation of religion and government crumbles, religious minorities such as Jews often suffer.

"Every time that wall starts to crack, bad things start to happen," he said, noting that DeSantis signed the law at an evangelical Christian church.
But the piece continues, noting that the suit claims "the act prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion" and goes on to cite a religious scholar on the matter:
"This ruling would be outlawing abortion in cases when our religion would permit us," said Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, scholar in residence at the National Council of Jewish Women, "and it is basing its concepts of when life begins on someone else's philosophy or theology." [bold added]
This may be true, but the United States is a secular republic with a constitutional ban on the establishment of religion. If an embryo were an individual human life (it isn't), an abortion would be a murder, and sanctioning a religious exemption for it might as well excuse any act, so long as religion were cited as a motive.

The Supreme Court has ruled that religious beliefs are not a defense against a criminal indictment. The charge was bigamy, and a proper defense would have invoked the right to contract. (Image by Unknown (modified by Ubcule), via Wikimedia Commons, public domain -- copyright expired.)
Any cursory review of history or even of current events should give one pause about this rationale, considering the kinds of barbarity religions have routinely excused or even urged their followers to commit across history up to and including the present day.

It is bad enough to have a theocratic abortion ban on the books; replacing said ban with a legal precedent that subordinates rule of law to the whims of religious leaders is even worse.

I can understand suing on the basis of privacy as a stop-gap legal tactic: It is far from ideal, but it can preserve some protection for reproductive rights until efforts to fully legalize abortion can succeed. But opening the door for the even further subordination of individual rights to religion is to play around with gasoline in a room already on fire.

In a secular state, one may practice one's religion in any respect -- so long as doing so does not violate the individual rights of others. This principle protects us from, say, being imprisoned, tortured, or murdered for "heresy," by subordinating adherents to every religion to rule of law. For the same reason, "religious freedom" cannot provide the justification for performing any act -- even if it is or should be perfectly legal on the grounds of individual rights.

Abortion should be legal because (a) an embryo is not an individual human life and (b) the woman carrying that embryo has the right to decide what to do with that part of her own body. Full stop.

If abortion is against a woman's religion, nobody will stop her from remaining pregnant. And that is the full extent -- for an individual -- to which religion should have a role on the question of abortion.

-- CAV

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1 hour ago, Gus Van Horn blog said:

If an embryo were an individual human life (it isn't), an abortion would be a murder

If a woman has a right to her own body, then an abortion can be self-defense, regardless of whether the embryo is a "human being" or not.

The debate has never really been about whether the embryo is a human being or not. That is a sideshow. The religionists don't actually seem to believe that every miscarriage should be investigated as a possible manslaughter (which would be logically required if an embryo is considered a human being). They don't believe in celebrating every successful conception as if it were a birth, they don't believe in issuing "conception certificates" instead of birth certificates, they don't believe in signing up the unborn for Social Security numbers and such... or even giving every miscarriage a proper funeral and burial!

Who owns your body is the real issue. Always has been. As far as religionists are concerned, your body belongs to God, and Congress shall have power to enforce this through appropriate legislation. This is also why religionists support things like drug prohibition (and many would even still support alcohol prohibition), and they want to ban tattoos and body piercing and such, because "your body is God's temple." This is also why they don't believe in investigating miscarriages as possible manslaughter -- because if a miscarriage occurs, it's "God's will."

Whereas the Democrats believe your body should belong to the state. They only support abortion as a "women's right," i.e., a collective right -- if they can figure out what a woman is...

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