Why Religious Freedom Can’t Protect Abortion

September 9, 2022

Andrew Kubick, Research Fellow for RFI’s National Center for Religious Freedom Education, recently penned an essay for Public Discourse titled, “Why Religious Freedom Can’t Protect Abortion.” In it, Kubick disputes the argument that access to abortion where it is restricted by law can be grounded in religious freedom. Kubick explains:

Because direct abortion intentionally kills an unborn human being, no right—religious or otherwise—can be invoked to protect it. Religious freedom is unquestionably a fundamental human right. It is inalienable and sacrosanct. Yet, never was it held to be absolute in practice. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is an example of a statute that recognizes and provides a method of identifying the outer limits of the free exercise of religion. RFRA declares: “Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” The government, whether federal or state, has a compelling interest to protect human beings from violence, especially those who are innocent and most vulnerable. That interest extends to the unborn, because they too have an equal claim to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

No religion, or any adherent thereof, has the lawful or moral claim to kill an innocent human being in the name of that faith. To deny the tragedy of abortion and make a rights claim to defend abortion is not religious freedom; rather, doing this uses religion as a license for unconscionable acts. And a just political community and the whole of society ought to categorically reject that license.

Read the full article: “Why Religious Freedom Can’t Protect Abortion.”