Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement that abortion advocates will proceed with efforts to ensure Missouri voters have the opportunity to enshrine abortion rights in the Missouri Constitution through a ballot initiative later this year:
“In recent times, this country has experienced many dark days with regard to the right to an abortion. But today we are inspired by the light shining bright in the state of Missouri and the announcement of a ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the Missouri Constitution.
Abortion bans violate church-state separation
“Abortion bans impose one narrow religious view on all of us. They violate religious and reproductive freedom and put lives at risk. The right to an abortion should not depend on where you live; we must never give up on protecting abortion rights in the ‘red’ states. That’s why Americans United sued on behalf of 14 Missouri faith leaders to overturn the state’s abortion ban. We’re also honored to co-lead the Missouri Abortion Access Project (MAAP), educating and encouraging Missourians to fight for abortion rights, which are essential to protecting religious freedom.
“Americans United is proud to work with the tireless advocates on the ground in Missouri, including many faith leaders, to restore abortion access across the state. Now is the time for a national recommitment to the separation of church and state.”
In Jan. 2023, Americans United, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), the law firm Arnold & Porter, and St. Louis-based civil rights lawyer Denise Lieberman filed Rev. Traci Blackmon v. State of Missouri on behalf of 14 Missouri faith leaders whose various faiths call them to support abortion access.
The lawsuit demonstrates that Missouri’s abortion ban and other restrictions violate the state constitution by enshrining lawmakers’ personal religious beliefs about abortion in laws passed in 2017 and 2019. The case is proceeding in St. Louis Circuit Court.
More information about the lawsuit is available here.
Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
Associate Vice President of Communications