Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Pro-Life Law

St. Louis Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Missouri’s pro-life protections violate the separation of church and state.

Sengheiser wrote, “While the determination that life begins at conception may run counter to some religious beliefs, it is not itself necessarily a religious belief.”

“As such, it does not prevent all men and women from worshipping Almighty God or not worshipping according to the dictates of their own consciences,” he noted.

The lawsuit, filed last year by the Americans United for Separation of Church & State and the National Women’s Law Center on behalf of 14 clergy members, alleged that the belief that life begins at conception has been “weaponized” by lawmakers.

“By legislating that life begins at ‘conception,’ the Missouri legislature dictates a narrowly Christian perspective onto all of Missouri’s diverse faith communities,” the lawsuit read.

The lawsuit specifically targeted the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act” from 2022.

Americans United for Separation of Church & State said in a statement that they “respectfully disagree with the court’s decision, and will be discussing next steps” with their “faith leader clients.”

“Missouri’s abortion ban is a direct attack on the separation of church and state, religious freedom and reproductive freedom,” the statement continued. “Missouri lawmakers made clear that they were imposing their personal religious beliefs on all Missourians when they enacted these laws. We remain committed to restoring abortion access in Missouri.”

Andrew Bailey, Missouri Attorney General, celebrated the ruling.

“Today is a major win for women and their unborn children as a Missouri court sided with our office yet again in our efforts to defend the sanctity of life,” he said. “Having lost a child, this issue is personal for me. My office will continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the unborn. Our children are worth the fight.”