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Faith leaders respond to Supreme Court's abortion ruling
Justices voted 5-3 in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, striking down controversial restrictions on Texas abortion clinics. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
The Supreme Court sparked a flurry of responses from faith leaders on Monday after justices voted 5-3 to strike down parts of a controversial Texas abortion law.

Pro-abortion rights religious groups celebrated the decision, arguing that the law had placed an unacceptable burden on women.

"All women must be able to obtain safe, legal and affordable abortions as a core element of reproductive rights and women's equality," said the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in a press release. "We are pleased that today's Supreme Court decision brings us closer to that reality."

"People everywhere should be able to access the resources they need to thrive spiritually, emotionally and physically, which includes sexual and reproductive health care," said leaders from Auburn Seminary in a statement.

People of faith who oppose abortion criticized the Supreme Court for failing to protect vulnerable lives.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had filed an amicus brief supporting the Texas law, released a statement condemning the ruling.

"Abortion claims the lives of unborn children, and too often endangers their mothers, as well. This ruling contradicts the consensus among medical groups that such measures protect women's lives," said Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the USCCB's Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

"The Supreme Court today has taken a stand on the wrong side of justice, the wrong side of human dignity, and the wrong side of the gospel," wrote Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a post on his website.

The Texas law at stake in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt required abortion clinics "to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers" and providers to be able to admit patients to nearby hospitals, The New York Times reported. Passed in 2013, it led around 20 clinics to close.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the majority, noted that the restrictions on abortion providers didn't offer enough medical benefits to justify the burden they placed on abortion access.

"The decision on Monday means that similar restrictions in other states are most likely also unconstitutional, and it imperils many other kinds of restrictions," The New York Times reported.

More than half of U.S. adults (56 percent) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 41 percent who say it should be illegal all or most of the time, according to the Pew Research Center. Additionally, 49 percent of U.S. adults believe having an abortion is morally wrong.
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