INDIANA (LifeSiteNews) — A recent ruling blocking the implementation of a new restrictive abortion law in Indiana is “insane” and based on “cockamamie legal theories” according to pro-life attorney Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society (TMS).
Breen, who serves as vice president and senior counsel of TMS, told LifeSiteNews a judge’s December 2 decision granting a preliminary injunction against SB 1, which was signed into law on August 4, “makes no sense at all when you look at both the allegations of these plaintiffs and the fact of what abortion is, which is the killing of innocent human beings.”
The challenge to the law utilized a relatively new legal strategy—originating with Satanists none the less—and involved five female plaintiffs in Indiana with a group calling themselves Hossier Jews for Choice who claimed SB 1 violated the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
The petitioners proposed that SB 1, which restricts abortion to all but several narrow circumstances, imposes on citizens what they claim to be a “theological opinion” that “human life begins at conception” when their own professed beliefs reject this fundamental principle.
The complaint which was filed by the ACLU in September, against five county prosecutors and members of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, argues “For example, under Jewish law, a fetus attains the status of a living person only at birth. Rabbinic sources note that prior to the 40th day of gestation, the embryo is considered to be ‘mere water.’ Thereafter, the embryo or fetus is considered a physical part of the woman’s body, not having a life of its own or independent rights.”
Despite the vehement disagreement of other Jewish scholars, the lawsuit continues stating, “Jewish law recognizes that abortions may occur, and should occur as a religious matter, under circumstances not allowed by … existing Indiana law.”
Two of the plaintiffs are Jewish women “married to one another,” a third is a married Jewish mother of one child, and the remaining two include a Muslim and a woman who “does not believe in a single, theistic god,” but in “a supernatural force or power that connects all humans.”
The complaint continues proposing that “some Muslim scholars take the position that the fetus does not possess a soul until 120 days after conception,” and these scholars “indicate that within 40 days of conception it is proper and appropriate to seek an abortion for any reason.”
Marion County Superior Court Judge Heather Welch agreed that these plaintiffs were “suffering injury and altering their behavior” due to the new law which caused them to experience “actual and present harm,” according to the IndyStar.
She thus granted their petition to temporarily block the state’s new restrictive abortion law concluding it “substantially burdens” their religious freedom rights.
Peter Breen: religious freedom right to abortion, the ‘dumbest legal theory of the year’
In response, Breen called this an “insane decision” on a lawsuit which “should have been laughed out of court.”
“You can’t argue that child sacrifice is part of your religion and claim for an exemption,” he said. “Whether you analyze the substantial burden factor under the religious freedom right, or you analyze the compelling interest [of the state], both come to the inescapable conclusion that you cannot challenge a law preventing the murdering of little children on a so-called religious basis.”
As is widely evidenced, the moment of when human life begins is not, as the plaintiffs presuppose, a matter of theological belief but of established scientific fact. As the Priests for Life website explains, “The question of when an individual human being’s life begins has to be a scientific one, and the simple fact is that no modern medical text shows life to begin at any time other than the moment of conception. The fact that life begins at conception is a proven scientific fact that all the pro-abortion rhetoric in the world can’t alter.”
Therefore, in Breen’s assessment, “The ACLU of Indiana is pulling these theories from all over the place and just trying desperately to throw everything at the wall and see if something sticks.”
“Really, if there were an award for dumbest legal theory of the year, this case would have taken it,” he said. “Our sincere hope is that the Indiana Supreme Court will correct these grave and outrageous legal errors.”
Rabbis admonish broad new Jewish coalition which asserts abortion to be ‘a Jewish value’
In recent years, the same general case has been made by professed Satanists, who have argued that any restriction to the killing of preborn children violates their religious beliefs. In 2015, the New York-based “Satanic Temple” filed a federal lawsuit against Missouri, claiming that state laws restricting abortion violate their “free exercise” of Satanism.
In 2020, they launched a campaign titled “Satanic Abortions Are Protected by Religious Liberty Laws,” and just last May they announced an attempt to circumvent the expected overturning of Roe v. Wade through a “religious exemption” so that its members can continue to perform its “religious abortion ritual” every place possible in the U.S.
Around the same time, this legal strategy emerged to become much more prominent when dozens of Jewish groups embraced it in the seeming expectation of the May 2 leak of the U.S. Supreme Court draft majority opinion of the Dobbs case—which indicated the anticipated overturning of Roe vs. Wade, coming to fruition on June 24.
Two weeks prior to the leak, on April 18, a website titled “Jewish Rally for Abortion Justice” was registered, going live around one week before the leak, on April 26, promoting an event for approximately two weeks after the leak, on May 17, suggesting a possible foreknowledge and coordination by individuals involved.
For this “Rally,” 140 Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), endorsed the messaging of this new initiative publicly declaring “abortion access is a Jewish value” and “banning abortions is a religious freedom issue.” In the minds of at least some of these advocates, this new proposition actually meant that “Being Anti-Abortion is being Antisemitic.”
These new slogans took concrete legal form on June 10 when the L’Dor Va-Dor synagogue of Boynton Beach, Florida filed a lawsuit seeking to impede the enforcement of the state’s new 15-week abortion ban arguing that it violates the “religious freedom” of Jews.
By early August, several more lawsuits were filed in Florida including one from three Jewish rabbis, and four others from leaders of different religions, including two “Christian” pastors from the United Church of Christ and of the Episcopal Church, along with a Buddhist lama, and a Unitarian Universalist minister.
On May 18, Orthodox Rabbi and longtime prolife hero Yehuda Levin issued a denunciation of the newly emerged pro-abortion Jewish movement, stating their representation of Jewish teaching on these questions is “really blasphemous, it’s duplicity, and it’s dishonest.”
“And my only question is: Are these people who say these things, whether they believe it in their heart or not, just dissembling?” he asked.
“These people, these libs, attempt to ape every liberal value, or lack thereof, and try to apply that to Jewish values, which is totally duplicitous. It’s totally untrue,” the New York based rabbi said.
And admonishing this movement, Levin stated, “You’re free to start your own religion which celebrates the babies you murder by turning lights on buildings, etc., but don’t have the chutzpah, the temerity, to try to call this traditional Torah Judaism, because it certainly is not.”
In addition, Agudath Israel of America, “the voice & arm of American Torah Jewry,” celebrated the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, and Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, proclaimed in response to this Jewish pro-abortion campaign, “The Jewish Bible’s position on life is unambiguous—and unambiguously ‘pro-life.’”
According to the Pew Research Center, adults who identify as being Jewish make up 2.4% of the adult population in the United States, and 83% of these believe the killing of preborn children should be legal in all or most cases behind only Unitarians, atheists and agnostics.
Satanists curiously not included among ‘variety of faiths’ in ‘religious freedom’ for abortion case
Judge Welch’s injunction is the second case which temporarily blocked SB 1. The first is a lawsuit also filed by the ACLU of Indiana and Planned Parenthood which claims the new law violates Indiana’s constitution, such as the right to privacy. An injunction for that case was issued in September and the state’s Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on this complaint next month.
The ACLU celebrated Welch’s injunction in a statement explaining that the “plaintiffs [in the case] represent a wide variety of faiths including, Judaism, Islam, and independent spiritual belief systems.”
Earlier this year, the Satanic Temple also filed suit against the state of Indiana likewise arguing that abortion restrictions violate their religious freedom rights to kill preborn children.
LifeSiteNews contacted the ACLU of Indiana to inquire if there was any particular reason that Satanists were not also included in their “religious freedom” lawsuit with these other faith traditions and did not receive a response.