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INDIANAPOLIS (LifeSiteNews) — A three-judge panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals has unanimously upheld a lower court’s decision claiming state law requires a religious exemption to the state’s ban on most abortions, although an appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court is expected before the ruling takes effect.

The Associated Press reports that in 2022, the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the group Hoosier Jews for Choice sued the state over the ban, claiming that for “many Hoosiers, the ability to obtain an abortion is necessary based on a sincerely held religious belief” and paradoxically citing Indiana’s 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which had been supported by Republicans and cheered by conservatives.

The suit alleges that banning abortion conflicts with the plaintiffs’ interpretation of Jewish teaching that “a fetus attains the status of a living person only at birth” and the “necessity of protecting the life and physical and mental health of the mother prior to birth as the fetus is not yet deemed to be a person,” among pro-abortion interpretations of other religions. A lower court sided with the plaintiffs last year.

READ: Abortionist turned pro-life doctor affirms killing a baby is ‘never necessary’ to save the mother’s life

Thursday’s ruling agreed with the plaintiffs that destroying an unborn child in certain circumstances can be “their exercise of religion” and that “their sexual and reproductive lives will continue to be restricted absent the injunction.”

“Today’s court ruling is wrongly decided,” responded Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter. “The Indiana Supreme Court has already ruled the state has a compelling interest in protecting unborn life, and Indiana’s new abortion-restriction law is doing that by reducing Indiana abortions to the lowest level in five decades. We are confident Indiana will prevail against any claims that abortion — the intentional ending of an innocent and helpless human life — is a religious freedom.”

In fact, while pro-abortion groups purporting to represent various faiths have long pushed supposed “religious” justifications for abortion, multiple passages of Scripture shared by Christianity and Judaism – among them the Commandment “thou shalt not kill” and the warning that “hands that shed innocent blood” are “detestable” to God – unambiguously prohibit the killing of innocent people, a category to which biology establishes that the preborn belong.

Orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Levin of New York has forcefully denounced assertions that Judaism is pro-abortion as “blasphemous” and “duplicity.”

He has previously explained to LifeSiteNews that the ancient Rabbi Yishmael and his rabbinic colleagues explained that in the original Hebrew, when “the prefix ‘ba’ precedes a word, it means ‘inside,’ let’s say. So, [a deeper interpretation would be] ‘He who sheds the blood of a man inside a man, his blood shall be shed.’”

“[Therefore, the same phrase] that forbids homicide and provides a penalty, a death penalty, for homicide, includes within it a proscription, a prohibition against feticide. In other words, both are derived from the same source which clearly indicates the severity of feticide. So, for them to ignore this it is really outrageous,” he said. “And some of our greatest rabbinic sources discuss the antecedent of the prohibition of abortion as deriving from the commandment of the decalogue, ‘Thou shall not murder.’”

“Pro-abortion Christians and Jews” commonly cite Exodus 21:22-25 and Numbers 5:11-31 as justifying abortion; the pro-life group Abort73 explains in detail how those interpretations are fallacious.

Indiana Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita indicated that the state will appeal the court’s decision.

“Life is still winning here in Indiana,” he said. “Yesterday’s ruling on the injunction only affects the four individuals and the single organization named in the lawsuit. But the ACLU is right about one thing – this case is far from over, and Hoosiers know our office will always fight to protect the unborn.”