Tampa Rabbi Joins Lawsuit Against Florida’s Abortion Ban

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A Tampa rabbi, Jason Rosenberg, joined a group of Florida faith leaders in Miami and Coral Gables to file a lawsuit against the state this week, claiming the abortion law violates their religious freedom.

In the suit, the rabbis say abortions for Jewish people are sometimes “mandated, in certain narrow circumstances, by their religious faith.”

“The view that abortion should not be legal is a Christian idea,” Rosenberg told Axios. “I support Christians’ right to practice it, but the government telling me I have to follow the law according to the Christian faith, that’s horrific.”

Lama Karma Chotso, a Buddhist leader in Miami-Dade County, said in the suit that lamas should be able to counsel Buddhists “to use self-determination to make choices to access abortion services and birth control with no restriction on movement, autonomy, type, or timing.”

The other plaintiffs say that lawmakers have inserted themselves into the basic principles of their faiths by imposing criminal penalties.

The legal challenge follows another religious freedom suit filed against the state by a Jewish congregation in Palm Beach County in June.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood were able to get the law temporarily blocked by a judge last month. Still, it was reinstated minutes later after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an appeal.

Rosenberg told Axios that permitting abortion is a well-established Jewish principle.

“Judaism has discussed abortion for 2,000 years and has a complicated, nuanced view about it,” Rosenberg said. “This is not simply coming out of the left field for us as Jews.”