LRRP Files Amicus Brief in Indiana Faith & Abortion Case

June 11, 2024

Yesterday, the Law, Rights & Religion Project filed an amicus brief in Individual Members Of The Medical Licensing Board Of Indiana, et al., v. Anonymous Plaintiff 1, et al., an Indiana Supreme Court case considering whether to uphold a lower court ruling that created religious exemptions from the state’s near-total abortion ban. 

The brief, filed in partnership with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, argues that the lower courts correctly held that the state Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) codifies a right to a religiously motivated abortion. Drawing on research from religious studies scholars and the testimony of abortion patients, the brief reveals the diversity of religious commitments that motivate some people to end their pregnancies.

“This brief elevates the lived experiences of people of faith motivated by their religious beliefs to end their pregnancies — a perspective that has been missing from legal and political discourse on abortion,” said Dr. Christine Ryan, Associate Director of the Law, Rights & Religion Project. “I urge anyone who doubts that abortion can be religious to read the first-hand accounts we present. In their own words, individuals describe the religious reasoning behind their abortion decisions. Their reality cannot be dismissed."

The brief also clarifies that religious liberty doctrine categorically dismisses any requirement that a religious belief must adhere to the dogma of an established religious organization to be protected.

In preparing this brief, LRRP was delighted to partner ​​with several acclaimed scholars who are undertaking a first-of-its-kind study on Abortion and Religion. Among other questions, the research explores whether religious beliefs motivated termination decisions among Christians, Jews, and Muslims who had abortions. 

For additional analysis of the lower courts’ opinions in this case, read Dr. Christine Ryan’s op-ed in Rewire.

For press inquiries, please contact Dr. Christine Ryan.