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Kansas City religious leaders sue over Missouri abortion ban: 'That doesn’t represent my faith'

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A group of people stand holding signs that say "religious freedom demands abortion rights" inside a church.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
The Rev. Traci Blackmon, associate general minister of justice and local church ministries for the United Church of Christ, center, chants alongside faith leaders suing to challenge Missouri’s abortion ban and restrictions on the basis of separation of church and state on Thursday outside of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis.

Leaders from 13 different religious organizations have joined a lawsuit filed by the National Women's Law Center and Americans United for Separation of Church and State challenging Missouri’s abortion laws. Two leaders from Kansas City say the trigger ban and other restrictions violate their congregations' religious freedom.

A lawsuit brought by an alliance of 13 religious leaders, along with The National Women’s Law Center and Americans United for Separation of Church, attempts to overturn Missouri’s nearly total abortion ban, which went into effect in June after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Two religious leaders from Kansas City have joined the suit, which was filed Thursday in St. Louis Circuit Court.

“Our legislatures are establishing a specific religious point of view, and foisting that religious point of view on the rest of us,” said Rabbi Doug Alpert, who leads Congregation Kol Ami.

Alpert says Missouri’s abortion laws conflict with the Jewish faith, which he says give precedence to the life of the mother over a fetus until it is born.

Reverend Holly McKissick, founder of Peace Church UCC, says that her faith shares a similar viewpoint, and believes a majority of Americans do as well.

“For most of us it would be more about viability,” McKissick said. “If we went over to St. Luke's right now, and there was a fire and we could grab a newborn or three embryos. We’d grab the newborn because an embryo is not a person, a person is a person.”

McKissick and Alpert joined KCUR's Up To Date to discuss why they joined the lawsuit and how their religions view abortion rights.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
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As KCUR’s Community Engagement Producer, I help welcome our audiences into the newsroom, and bring our journalism out into the communities we serve. Many people feel overlooked or misperceived by the media, and KCUR needs to do everything we can to cover and empower the diverse communities that make up the Kansas City metro — especially the ones who don’t know us in the first place. My work takes the form of reporting stories, holding community events, and bringing what I’ve learned back to Up To Date and the rest of KCUR.

What should KCUR be talking about? Who should we be talking to? Let me know. You can email me at zjperez@kcur.org or message me on Twitter at @zach_pepez.

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