In Missouri, a group of Satan worshipers sued Governor Jay Nixon and his Attorney General, Chris Koster over a new state law that requires a 72-hour waiting period prior to an abortion. As LifeNews previously reported, on June 23rd, a woman known only as “Mary Doe” filed the suit in federal court on behalf of The Satanic Temple. The lawsuit alleges that the pro-life law violates their religious beliefs and the establishment clause that’s intended to outlaw governmental endorsement of religion.
The suit said, “All women who are contemplating getting an abortion in Missouri have the right, pursuant to the First Amendment, to exercise their freedom to believe when human life begins and act upon their belief without interference or influence by the state of Missouri.”
However, now Gov. Nixon and Attorney General Koster have asked a federal judge to scrap the lawsuit because The Satanic Temple has not sufficiently shown they’ve been harmed and they believe they are constitutionally protected from the lawsuit. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the state officials argued that “the legal theory underlying the plaintiffs’ (First Amendment) claim is unclear.”
They also mentioned that the new law does not force women to read informative literature; instead, it requires that abortion providers make the information available 72-hours prior to an abortion. They said, “It does not compel these patents to accept, read or agree with the literature.”
The Satanic Temple’s website reveals that the group supports abortion and are working on a so-called “women’s rights campaign that is offering religious exemptions from arbitrary, insulting, and outright harmful anti-abortion legislation that has been steadily encroaching across the nation.”
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The woman involved with the suit apparently had an abortion at Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and is requesting that the law be voided. She also said that the law causes her and “pregnant members of The Satanic Temple to endure delay, doubt, guilt and shame when they exercise their religious beliefs to abort Human Tissue in accordance with the Satanic Tenets.”
Currently, W. James MacNaughton is representing The Satanic Temple and he says the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Decision prompted the lawsuit. He explained, “Hobby Lobby really put into the public consciousness the idea that one’s religious belief can become a basis for being exempted from state regulations. Our view is the waiting period in Missouri and requirement for women to learn all the information about the physical characteristics of the fetus is simply preaching. The goal (of the lawsuit) is to get the restrictions eliminated across the board.”
In 2014, Missouri’s HB 1307 extended the current 24-hour waiting period before an abortion to 72-hours. Unfortunately, after the legislation passed both chambers, Governor Nixon actually vetoed the bill. He told the Washington Times that “Lengthening the already extensive waiting period serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women who have undoubtedly already spent considerable time wrestling with perhaps the most difficult decision they may ever have to make.”
Unbelievably, The Satanic Temple has been able to raise over $25,000 on their crowdfunding site for their campaign. On their website they wrote, “Since 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court which safeguarded the legality of abortion, the conservative religious right has instigated anti-abortion initiatives. Many lawmakers have introduced “weasel bills” transparently designed to make the process of receiving an abortion more difficult, and emotionally and logistically harrowing.”
They concluded, “Those who define the issue in terms of personal choice typically find their views marginalized as being outside of the realm of religious protection. While religio-conservative views seek to undermine abortion rights, they have also steadily worked to define “religious liberty” to be understood in terms of reserving the right to deny contraceptives and oppose rational family planning practices. We intend to show that religious liberty can also protect and promote these legal practices.”