Three Jewish women in Kentucky have sued the state over its restrictive ban on abortion. Their argument is that the ban is violating their religious rights because Jewish teachings address when life begins. The restrictions also place significant and unnecessary burdens on the ability of those women, and many others, to use IVF in order to become pregnant. This isn’t the first abortion restriction lawsuit to be filed by Jewish women saying that their religious rights are being violated.
Ever since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Jewish people and other religious groups have been filing suits and reaching out to their state’s representatives in an effort to avoid overly restrictive bans that affect their religious freedom and beliefs. The law in Kentucky is one of the most restrictive. It bans nearly every abortion after six weeks, with a handful of very narrow exceptions. It also states that life begins at the moment the egg is fertilized, which is not the belief held by many religious groups.
Additionally, Kentucky’s abortion law forbids any disposal of unborn life that is in the embryonic or fetal stage. That adds to the concerns for anyone using IVF and the doctors who are providing that service, since the IVF process often results in extra embryos that are either frozen and preserved for later, or disposed of. The women who brought the lawsuit argue that Jewish law and the Kentucky law disagree in terms of when life begins, which violates their freedom to practice their religion.
With the lawsuit stating that there is a “substantial burden” on the women based on their need for IVF and the expense of keeping any additional embryos frozen indefinitely, the argument is that religious freedom must be recognized. Some anti-abortion activists also suggest embryo donation to get around the idea that the embryos can’t be destroyed, but Jewish law is also against this practice due to the potential for future accidental incest when IVF children grow up and have families of their own.
The Surrogacy Law Center works with all individuals and couples, helping protect their legal rights as they navigate the world of surrogacy and assisted reproductive methods. Contact us today to learn more!