The Supreme Court considered a court case Tuesday in which a Satanic Temple member alleges the state of Missouri’s requirement that women wait 72 hours before aborting following a doctor visit violates her religious beliefs.
Missouri law requires women to wait 72 hours after seeing a doctor for their consultation before they can have an abortion. The law also asks women seeking abortions to read a brochure stating life begins at conception as well as have the opportunity to view an ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat of their baby if they choose.
The anonymous Satanic Temple member — called “Mary Doe” in court documents — claims the law violates her religious beliefs and religious freedom because she, as a satanist, doesn’t think life begins at conception. The law “effectively deputizes doctors to preach the gospel according to the state of Missouri to pregnant women,” James MacNaughton, the attorney representing Doe, said of the state’s law according to US News. (Related: Satanists Take Abortion Law To Missouri Supreme Court).
Missouri state attorney, John Sauer, maintains that life starting at conception is not a religious belief but a philosophical belief and thus does not violate Doe’s religious principles. He also posits that the state is not forcing Doe to let go of her convictions simply by asking her to adhere to the state’s informed consent laws.
“The question of when life begins is a scientific question, not a religious one. It is an observable scientific fact that the life of a new, genetically distinct organism of the human species begins at conception,” Thomas More Society Counsel attorney, Thomas Olp, also posited in an amicus brief about the case. (RELATED: Satanist Group And Pro-Life Org Are Battling Over An Abortion Waiting Period Law).
Satanic Temple spokesperson, Jex Blackmore, maintains that the state is implying abortion is murder with its informed consent laws, and therefore violating her belief that the unborn baby is part of the woman’s body.
“The state forces women to wait 72 hours in order to consider the State’s position that life begins at conception,” Blackmore said according to MSN.com. “It’s an indoctrination program,” she added. The state does not prevent women from getting abortions, but simply requires that they talk to a doctor and inform themselves about their decision.
The Satanic Temple doesn’t think Satan actually exists but believes Satan is symbolic of a call to fight against tyrannical forces, according to Satanic Temple co-founder, Lucien Greaves. Satanic Temple members insist that Missouri’s abortion laws forces Satanists to violate core tenets stating that a body is subject to its will alone and that beliefs should conform to scientific understanding, which they claim violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (Related: Satanic Temple Aligns With Planned Parenthood).
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