January 25, 2018 – A few months back, I wrote an article for the Columbia Missourian concerning the abortion laws in the state of Missouri. More specifically, I wrote how a member of the Satanic Temple in Missouri, “Mary Doe,” was suing the state because her “religious rights” had been violated when she attempted to get a legal abortion.
I wrote that “(Missouri’s) mandated ‘informed consent’ materials, ultrasound, and 72-hour waiting period violated a member of The Satanic Temple’s First Amendment rights.” As a member of the Temple, Doe contended that 188.027 1 RSMo is in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the same law that said Hobby Lobby could deny abortion coverage for its employees because of the owners’ deeply held religious beliefs.
According to KSDK 5 (an NBC affiliate in St. Louis), the Temple filed suit stating that the required “ultrasound and the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat were both medically unnecessary and a violation of (Mary’s) personal religious beliefs.”
The suit claimed that Doe was “forced to watch unscientific anti-abortion propaganda and another that forces (the patients) to wait 72 hours between their initial consultations and a second appointment for their abortions.
The Huffington Post reported that “Missouri’s so-called “Informed Consent” abortion law aimed to convince Doe ― contrary to her religious beliefs ― that abortion is murder. That Doe’s health decisions need to be based “on the best scientific understanding of the world.”
The lower court dismissed the lawsuit because Mary had already had the abortion and decided she had no “standing” for the suit. The state’s supreme court has taken the case.
The attorney for the Temple also asked the Missouri Supreme Court to “block the state’s mandatory three-day waiting period for abortions and a requirement that doctors giving abortions also give women a handout that says ‘the life of each human being begins at conception’.”
During the proceedings, Missouri’s Solicitor General John Sauer announced to the State’s Supreme Court that ultrasounds are not mandatory to obtain an abortion (188.027RSMo), but as an “offered opportunity” to hear the baby’s heartbeat. This was seen as a victory for women’s rights advocates as well as the Satanic Temple.
According to Jex Blackmore, the spokeswoman for The Satanic Temple:
The State’s interpretation of the law will allow women in Missouri seeking an abortion to do so with a level of dignity not currently available to them. Women will no longer be forced to decide whether or not they want to listen to the fetal heartbeat while naked, with their feet in stirrups, and a transvaginal ultrasound wand inside of them.
However, it appears that the three day waiting period is still mandatory for those seeking the procedure. Now it is a wait and see game knowing full well that anti-abortion laws are all religiously based.