Missouri Satanic abortion

Missouri’s abortion laws go against the First Amendment.

An anonymous Missouri woman, identified only as Mary Doe in public court documents, has won a significant legal victory in Western District Court of Appeals in her aim to show that her religious beliefs are being violated by state abortion laws. The court said that her constitutional challenge presented a disputed right which includes reasonable space for disagreement and fair doubt as well. Mary Doe is also an adherent of Satanism.

Doe, an adherent of The Satanic Temple, argued her religion does not harbor the belief that conception is the beginning of life. The prerequisites, due to this belief, for an abortion procedure in Missouri are directly violating her religious freedom. The latter is protected by First Amendment. Her suit names Josh Hawley, the Missouri Attorney General, and Governor Eric Greitens. Incidentally, Doe's claims were at first thrown out by Cole County Circuit Court. She then appealed the decision.

The Satanic organization regards Satan as a personal autonomy symbol. It promotes 'rational inquiry' and compassion. The Satanists argue that the abortion restrictions imposed by Missouri, including the state's informed consent law along with the compulsory waiting period of 72 hours violate religious belief of one of the organization's members. The complaint against Missouri was filed by the Satanists in May 2015.

Mary Doe, in her quest to have an abortion, was forced to drive three hours to Planned Parenthood. She was forced to take time off from work. She also paid for her hotel costs. She, as per Missouri law, waited for 72 hours prior to receiving the procedure. She was also asked to go through the 'informed consent' booklet which asserts that human life starts at conception. The instance of abortion will terminate the life of a unique and separate human being. Incidentally, one of the core beliefs of Satanism is that a body of a person can never be violated, and could be subjected to a will of that person alone.

James McNaughton, The Satanic Temple's attorney, said that by promoting the belief of human life being created at conception, the state is pushing for a religious belief which is in conflict with the convictions of the anonymous woman. The Satanists have argued that the Missouri's abortion mandate is in direct violation of the state's own Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment's free exercise clause, and also the establishment clause.

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