The debate around abortion is hotting up with Catholic groups fighting back after court cases in Illinois and Texas claiming religious objections.
The flashpoint has been an Illinois law that allows women to obtain an abortion if their life is endangered. The US supreme court upheld that law on Monday but ruled that some religious organisations have a free-exercise right not to be involved in abortions.
The Illinois law has been in place since 1973 and, according to opponents, is the toughest in the US on abortion access. That will remain in place, but now it can be challenged in federal court.
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The case arose from appeals court judge James Bredar’s reasoning that the right to freedom of religion does not apply to the conduct of a public policy matter. He ruled that while the legal principle covers religious beliefs, actions cannot be covered.
Opponents of the ruling have organised a “pro-life resistance” and are drafting a bill in the state legislature to block any further attempts to claim a right to boycott people or companies based on their belief.
The Illinois law passed in 2015 requires a doctor to find a specific medical reason for an abortion to be performed. The procedure was then halted for 60 days before it was issued a permit to be performed for safekeeping purposes and restored to regular hours.