The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and allies have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.
A spotlight on Roe could come in the Supreme Court’s review of a lower court opinion nullifying a state law that bars discrimination against certain classes of unborn children, such as sex, race and disability, according to a brief filed Nov. 15.
The ERLC and four other organizations, in a friend-of-the-court brief, called for the high court to grant the appeal request by the state of Indiana in defense of its 2016 law that prohibits abortion in various categories. The brief also asked the justices to contemplate whether they should overrule the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that invalidated all state restrictions on abortion and a 1992 opinion that affirmed Roe.
The case offers the Supreme Court an early opportunity to rule on a state restriction and revisit its Roe ruling after adding a new justice who abortion rights advocates fear would be a fifth vote to reverse its controversial decision from 45 years ago. The justices could find Indiana’s law is constitutional without reversing part or all of the Roe opinion.
Brett Kavanaugh — who narrowly received Senate confirmation in October after a bitter battle — is considered an originalist who interprets the Constitution based on its initial meaning. He replaced Anthony Kennedy, who affirmed Roe in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey opinion. Nearly all pro-life organizations have given favorable reviews to Kavanaugh’s record as a federal appeals court judge.
ERLC President Russell Moore told Baptist Press he prays the high court will uphold Indiana’s law.
“This country will one day shudder at the thought of a child being snuffed out in the womb simply because that child had an extra chromosome,” Moore said in written comments. “The abortion industry’s defense of abortions based on sex, race and disability exposes their thirst for profit.”
The organizations joining the ERLC on the brief were the National Association of Evangelicals, Concerned Women for America, National Legal Foundation and Pacific Justice Institute.
The case involves a 2016 law signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, now the nation’s vice president, requiring doctors to inform their patients that Indiana does not permit an unborn child to be aborted only because of his or her “race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.”
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky challenged the law, and a federal judge permanently blocked the state from enforcing it. In April of this year, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago affirmed the ruling against the law, which also includes a section requiring humane disposal of fetal remains.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Tom Strode