A Satanic Temple member said the state’s abortion laws, including a 5-day waiting period, are a burden to religious beliefs.
According to the Washington Post, a Satanic Temple member in Missouri claims that the state’s abortion laws with a waiting period are against her religion.
In Missouri, women need to make two trips, 72 hours apart, if they want to have an abortion at the one open abortion-clinic in the state. The first trip is to receive counseling and the second after the required waiting period is for the procedure itself.
The Satanic Temple says that this restriction places an undue burden on a 22-year-old Missouri member, identified by the group only under the pseudonym of “Mary.” The local Missouri chapter of the Satanic Temple as well as the national organization have been raising funds for potential legal costs, meals, transportation and day care costs for her child.
According to Thomas Berg, a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, it’s possible in theory for someone to raise a religious conscience argument for having an abortion. “But it’s unlike to matter much legally,” he said to the Washington Post.
The Satanic Temple filed suit against Missouri, alleging the state’s anti-abortion restrictions interfere with Satanists’ religious liberty.
— Jorie (@MmedeSevigne) May 11, 2015
Berg, who is an expert on Religious Freedom Restoration Act-style laws, views that the Satanic Temple essentially relies on the same question one would ask to determine whether the 72-hour waiting period violates the earlier decisions at the Supreme Court: does the law impose a substantial burden on the individual seeking an abortion?
The Satanic Temple says its mission “is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.”