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Faith Leaders Join Lawsuit Challenging Florida’s 15-Week Abortion Law

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Two religious leaders plan to join a lawsuit filed by a synagogue in Boynton Beach, Florida against a state law banning abortion at 15 weeks gestation.

The two leaders, one Unitarian and one Buddhist, will argue that the law violates the state Constitution’s right to privacy and freedom of religion (via NBC): 


The retired Unitarian Rev. Harris Riordan and the Buddhist minister Maya Malay confirmed they will file a lawsuit in state court next week, echoing arguments from Rabbi Barry Silver. Silver intends to file his own amended complaint next week along with Rabbi Arthur Wascow, the founder and director of the progressive Jewish organization the Shalom Center.

"We are excited to expand this lawsuit to include outstanding representatives of the Buddhist and Unitarian traditions," Silver said. "Maya Malay and Harris Riordan are wonderful teachers of their own traditions and have dedicated their lives to improving the world for people of all faiths and religions. 

"We look forward to building coalitions with people of all faiths and backgrounds, including atheists and freethinkers, to repair the wall of separation between church and state and to unite the people of the world to protect human rights and save our precious planet," Silver added.

Silver's synagogue, Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor in Palm Beach County, first filed a lawsuit over the Florida law before it took effect July 1. In an updated complaint, the rabbi will add his name as an individual plaintiff, he confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday.


DeSantis was one of many pro-life governors who signed legislation into law protecting unborn life before the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade. Florida’s law mirrored the law at the center of the Supreme Court case, which was a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. Shortly after the Florida law was signed, a Florida judge blocked its enforcement.

Townhall covered last month how Silver issued a statement on the synagogue’s website where he called unintended pregnancies a “curse.”

Govenor DeSantis is not pro-life, he is pro-lie, lying to the people by pretending that he cares about life. If he were truly pro-life, he would seek universal health care, protect our planet, help the poor and outlaw assault weapons that are killing our children. And if he truly understood the sanctity of life, he would stop trying to force parenthood on women against their will and realize that bringing new life into the world is a blessing when done out of love and by choice and is a curse when forced through coercion by the state. By making no exception for rape, incest or trauma, if a woman has been raped in Florida by a man who took control of her body by force, the state adds insult to injury by taking control of her body by legislative fiat and forcing her to bear the child of her rapist. Society improves when women’s rights to reproduction are respected and is harmed when women are treated as incubators not people. Jews and others don’t need religious fanatics to teach us about the sanctity of life by imposing their misguided religious views upon us. As the Rabbi of Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor and its attorney, we will continue to fight to keep the separation between church and state strong, which is essential to protecting the freedoms we all enjoy in America.

"We are here today to defend those who can't defend themselves," DeSantis said when he signed the pro-life bill into law in April. "This will represent the most significant protections for life that we have seen in a generation."

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