NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Clergy members of five religions sued the state of Florida on Monday over a new law criminalizing most abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, saying the ban violates their religious freedom rights.

The five separate lawsuits, filed in Miami-Dade County, claim the state’s ban curtails the clergy members’ ability to counsel congregants about abortion in accordance with their faiths, since Florida law prohibits counseling or encouraging a crime.

The plaintiffs are three rabbis, a United Church of Christ reverend, a Unitarian Universalist minister, an Episcopal Church priest and a Buddhist lama. They asked the court to declare that the state’s abortion law violates Florida and U.S. constitutional protections for freedom of speech and religion.

KANSAS ABORTION CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT REJECTED BY VOTERS

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 23:  Mother Loraine Marie Maguire, (C), of the Little Sisters of the Poor, speaks to the media after aruments at the US Supreme Court, March 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Today the high court heard arguments in Little Sisters v. Burwell, which will examine whether the governments new health care regulation will require the Little Sisters to change their healthcare plan, to other services that violate Catholic teaching.
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

They also claim the abortion ban violates a Florida religious freedom law that prohibits the government from “substantially burdening” the exercise of religion, unless there is a compelling state interest that cannot be met with fewer restrictions.

BIDEN TO SIGN SECOND EXECUTIVE ORDER TO EXPAND ABORTION ACCESS

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement that her office will continue to defend the statute. Marci Hamilton, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania representing the plaintiffs, said the cases are “absolutely essential” to address the tension between abortion restrictions and religious freedom.

Abortion rights activist rally at the Washington Monument before a march to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, May 14, 2022. (Photo by JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Abortion rights activist rally at the Washington Monument before a march to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, May 14, 2022. (Photo by JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images)
(JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images)

A Florida synagogue has also filed a lawsuit challenging the abortion law. That case is pending in a different state court.

ORLANDO MAYOR LIMITS DOWNTOWN ACCESS WITH CONTROLLED ENTRY POINTS AFTER MASS SHOOTING

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' office blasted a piece the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board for a piece about a new state law that is "rife with erroneous assumptions," according to the governor’s press secretary. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office blasted a piece the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board for a piece about a new state law that is “rife with erroneous assumptions,” according to the governor’s press secretary.
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Florida law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks with few exceptions, went into effect on July 1. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the law in April, before the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning the constitutional right to abortion nationwide.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

An appeal is now pending over a judge’s ruling last month that the state ban violates the Florida constitution’s privacy rights guarantees. The state’s high court previously said those guarantees protect the right to abortion.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *