Academic journals for high school students

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Abortion in the United States and the Separation of Church and State

Yumin Lee

Korea International School


The First Amendment of The Constitution of the United States has a provision that prohibits the interference of religion in state matters – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” However, following the ruling in Roe v. Wade, abortion legislation in various states have faced several challenges, in that states have the right to restrict abortion practices; naturally, restrictions on abortion have increasingly gained a religious inclination over time. This inclination leads to the question of whether issues revolving around abortion rights violate the separation of church and state. While the Supreme Court held that the rights accorded to individuals by the establishment clause could be applied through the Fourteenth Amendment, the fear of religious domination on matters of state, led to the drafting of the establishment clause–the focus of the clause sets the conditions for neutrality. This research paper examines the possibility of an interference of the state by the church; meaning, state legislation revolving around abortion are influenced by religious inclinations, which breaches the very heart of the U.S. Constitution.

To find correlation between religion and abortion laws, data from several cases of the Supreme Court revolving around rights to abortion and the religious tendencies of policy makers of the most abortion-restrictive states have been drawn. The results showed a significant effect of religion on state matters.

The legality of abortion in the United States depends on the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which preserved the right accorded to women to make private decisions without the state’s interference. Questions regarding abortion raise religious undertones; religion is often cited in the quest to reverse abortion rights as interpreted from the Roe v. Wade ruling. Religion and its effect on the direction states take on abortion brings to the fore concerns regarding the violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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