Fifteen religous and civic organizations have filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. District Court here to reverse the federal policy that refuses Medicaid reimbursements for most abortion procedures.

Under the policy of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Medicaid abortions are permitted to safeguard the life of the mother, but are denied in most election two cases.

The supporting brief in the case, McRae v. Califano, was submitted by Leo Pieffer, special counsel to the American Jewish Congress, on behalf of the American Jewish Congress, American Ethical Union, American Humanist Association, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, United Methodist Church, Catholics for a Free Choice, Church of the Brethren, Christian Church (Disciples of a Christ), National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, United Presbyterian Church, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Unitarian Universalist Association, Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation, United Church Board for Homelands Ministries and the United Synagogues of America.

The suit said the organizations were "unable to accept, as consistent with religious principles and the concept of a democratic society, a system of law under which one church or a number of churches - whose views on the sinfulness of abortion are not shared by millions of their own faithful, and much less so by others - can utilize statutory exceptions to achieve by force of poverty their theological ends among the economically disadvantaged."