Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is joining with 20 other states in calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the First Amendment rights and pro-life beliefs of churches and religious organizations.
“The First Amendment prohibits government from forcing churches to pay for abortions, yet at least three states have enacted abortion coverage laws that challenge head-on the religious freedom of churches and other religious entities,” Marshall said. “I cannot personally think of a more callous and egregious violation of freedom of expression of religion than a state forcing a church to pay for an employee’s abortion.”
According to a press release from his office dated June 3, Marshall and attorneys general from 20 other states filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany v. Lacewell over the State of New York’s mandate that religious groups must provide employees with abortion coverage.
Alabama’s Attorney General, along with the others, is calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to review state denial of religious freedom through abortion coverage mandates, and reverse what Marshall referred to as “this disturbing attack on the constitutional rights of churches and other religious organizations.”
Hostility toward First Amendment
Marshall and his colleagues argue in their filing that those who rely upon the First Amendment’s religious protections are increasingly facing hostility from state government.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, many public health measures have ignored burdens on religious exercise, or worse, targeted religious exercise as such,” Marshall explained. “California recently tried to force crisis pregnancy centers to violate their religious beliefs by requiring the centers to promote abortion to the women they serve.”
Marshall went on to say that in some states, hostility, not solicitude, is increasingly common.
“New York and a handful of other states recently mandated that all employee insurance plans provide coverage for abortion procedures,” Marshall continued. “These mandates are purportedly neutral and generally applicable. But for religious organizations … providing coverage for abortion is complicity in a grave sin — there is no dispute that it violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Laura Nicole of Live Action, a pro-life organization dedicated to building a culture of life and advancing human rights, wrote about the amicus brief in a recent article on the group’s website: “Religious groups appeal to Supreme Court in fight against New York’s pro-abortion mandate.”
‘Never medically necessary’
“Forcing religious groups to fund abortion as part of their healthcare plans would make them complicit in an act they know to be evil,” Nicole wrote. “Still, the success of abortion activists in passing such laws cannot change the fact that abortion is not a health care procedure, but a violent act that robs a preborn baby of his or her life. The simple truth is that abortion is never medically necessary.”
Alabama joined Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia in filing the amicus on May 28.
The text can be found at https://www.alabamaag.gov.
By Hamilton Richardson, TAB Media
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