Synagogue Sues Florida for Abortion Law, Says It Violates Jewish Faith

  • A Florida law set to take effect on July 1 will ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
  • A synagogue in Palm Beach County if suing the state, arguing it violates religious freedoms.
  • In Jewish law, abortion is sometimes required, including to protect the mother, the lawsuit says.

A synagogue in Florida is suing the state over a new law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, arguing it infringes upon their religious freedom and violates the Jewish faith.

The lawsuit was filed last week by the Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor of Boynton Beach, located in Palm Beach County. Under Jewish law, abortion is “required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman” and for other reasons that would not be allowed under the bill, according to the lawsuit.

Florida previously allowed abortions up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy, but Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the 15-week abortion ban into law in April and it’s set to take effect on July 1. The bill does allow abortion to save the life of the pregnant person or prevent serious injury to them.

“The act prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion and this violates their privacy rights and religious freedom,” the lawsuit said, adding: “Forcing parenthood upon women against their will harms women, their families, our society, and the religious freedom of those who do not share the views reflected in the act.”

The lawsuit is the second challenge to the Florida bill, with Planned Parenthood and other reproductive care providers filing a lawsuit against the state on June 1.

The bill is among the latest abortion bans to be enacted in red states recently. While Roe v. Wade enshrined the constitutional right to an abortion up to fetus viability, about 24 weeks, a draft Supreme Court opinion that leaked last month indicated the landmark ruling could soon be overturned.

Many Jewish communities reacted negatively to the news, expressing concern it could violate their religious freedoms, Insider’s Katie Balevic and Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert previously reported.

“We are proud that Jewish tradition regards abortion as essential health care, not only permitting the termination of pregnancy, but even requiring it when the life of the pregnant person is in danger,” Rabbi Hera Person said in a statement following the leak.

“Restricting access to reproductive health care impedes the freedom of religion granted by the First Amendment, including a Jewish person’s ability to make decisions in accordance with their religious beliefs,” he added.