The Missouri Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in an abortion case involving The Satanic Temple against the state.
In October of 2017, a Missouri woman who is a follower of The Satanic Temple and believes state abortion law goes against her religious beliefs, won her appeal in the Western District Court of Appeals.
According to The Kansas City Star, court documents show that the woman identified as Mary Doe argued her religion does not believe that life begins at conception. Therefore, she said what's required for an abortion in Missouri violates her First Amendment freedom of religion.
The Kansas City Star reports that Doe had an abortion in May 2015 and had to comply with Missouri's informed consent law.
The law requires women to wait 72 hours before having an abortion, look at an ultrasound and sign a form which states they've read material that contains the line, "(t)he life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being."
"The state has essentially established a religious indoctrination program intended to push a single ideological viewpoint," said Jex Blackmore, The Satanic Temple's spokesperson, in a press release. "The law is intended (to) punish women who disagree with this opinion."
The temple also argues the informed consent law goes against Doe's rights "under Missouri's Religious Freedom Restoration Act because that interference has no medical or other compelling purpose," according to the press release.
"Missouri's state-mandated informed consent booklets explicitly say that life begins at conception, which is a non-medical religious viewpoint that many people disagree with," Blackmore said. "Forcing women to read this information and then wait 72 hours to consider the state's opinion is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause."
"It is our hope that this suit will allow Satanic women in Missouri to obtain abortions free from state imposed guilt, shame and religious coercion in accordance with their own sincerely held beliefs," Blackmore continued.
Judge Thomas Newton wrote the unanimous opinion for the Appeals Court, saying The Satanic Temple's case "raises real and substantial constitutional claims."
According to the press release, the temple's lawsuit could change regulations at the state level for "religiously motivated abortions" and that Doe's case "is the first time that religious belief has been used to challenge Informed Consent Laws."
Attorney General Josh Hawley issued a statement that he would strongly defend "Missouri's sensible waiting period law from this challenge by the Satanic Temple in the Missouri Supreme Court."
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