AAR Resolution on Texas Senate Bill 8

Passed at the Annual Business Meeting on November 20, 2021. 

Whereas the State of Texas Senate Bill 8, which bans abortion of an “unborn child” after detection of cardiac activity (typically around six weeks), abridges the free exercise of religion of those religious traditions that define the moral and ontological status of the prenate in utero differently;

Whereas SB8, which bans abortion before many women are aware they are pregnant and only excepting the life of the mother, endangers women’s and pregnant person’s lives and disproportionately burdens poor people and young people who need abortions and who will have to travel out-of-state for reproductive care; 

Whereas, because the primary enforcement mechanism of SB8 are civil cases initiated by private citizens against anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion (or intends to do so) in Texas, this law poses a grave threat to clergy, religious educators, and professors who may be vulnerable to legal action for supporting reproductive health, rights, and justice;

Whereas the American Academy of Religion is committed to excellence in the academic study of religion and to the public understanding of religion in our pluralistic democracy;

Resolved that the AAR opposes SB8 because it violates the free exercise of religion of many Texans. 

Resolved that the AAR opposes SB8 because it potentially endangers the academic freedom of professors who teach or publish on issues of reproductive health, rights, and justice;

Resolved that the AAR supports our membership in continuing to engage in teaching and scholarly debate regarding religion and reproductive issues, including abortion.