A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by The Satanic Temple against abortion laws in Missouri.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit on Tuesday. Judges tossed the lawsuit because the woman at the center of the case was not pregnant when she sued.
A plaintiff under the alias of “Mary Doe” filed a lawsuit in 2015 that objected to Missouri’s 72-hour waiting period and informed consent law, with the case later being heard before the Missouri Supreme Court in 2017. Doe claimed the law violated her “religious freedom.” Doe argued:
“As you know, state law requires a waiting period after I first receive counseling before I can undergo an abortion. I regard a waiting period as a state sanctioned attempt to discourage abortion by instilling an unnecessary burden as part of the process to obtain this legal medical procedure. The waiting period interferes with the inviolability of my body and thereby imposes an unwanted and substantial burden on my sincerely held religious beliefs.
This letter constitutes my acknowledgment that you have notified me of the state mandated waiting period, but demands that you do not abide by this obligation because the waiting period offends my sincerely held religious beliefs, which take precedent.”
Co-founder of the Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves says that abortion is a religious right for them. “As Satanists we believe in individual autonomy, personal choice, and the inviolability of one’s own body,” he said. “Further, we believe one should be free to make one’s own decisions, uncoerced, based on the best available scientific evidence, whether or not the science comports with the religious and/or political views of others.”
After the case was rejected by the Cole County Circuit Court, the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled in Doe’s favor, but now a federal appeals court has completely thrown the lawsuit out saying that since Doe was not pregnant when she sued she “lacked constitutional standing.”
On top of the 72-hour waiting period, Missouri law also requires women to be given a booklet explaining fetal development, including that life, in fact, begins at fertilization. In addition, the law requires women to be offered an ultrasound with the opportunity to hear the baby’s fetal heartbeat.
Though this is a momentary victory for life, the Satanic Temple is by no means done with their crusade in support of abortion. In Missouri alone, there are still two more pending lawsuits on behalf of the Satanic Temple, and in both of the cases the women WERE both pregnant when they filed.
In one of the new suits brought by The Satanic Temple, the plaintiff known as “Judy Doe,” argues that her religion, as a member of TST “should exempt her from the imposition of abortion restrictions that conflict with her beliefs. Because Missouri is using its power to regulate abortion to promote the religious belief that life begins at conception, TST argues that this is a violation of the Establishment Clause.”
The Satanic Temple claims that the 72-hour waiting period violates the Free Exercise Clause because “it compels TST members to consider a religious proposition with which they do not agree and therefore delays their ability to obtain an abortion on demand.”
“With a bald theocratic imposition of abortion restrictions into Missouri state law, and a continued expansion of religious privilege and exemption, Missouri lawmakers are going to be forced to accept that there are religious perspectives, just as deeply-held, that may directly contradict their own religious beliefs and directives,” Greaves said in a statement.
Spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, Mary Compton, promised that the state would “continue to vigorously defend Missouri’s sensible waiting period law.”
Join the conversation!
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.