Earlier this year, the Satanic Temple filed a lawsuit protesting Missouri’s informed consent laws in regard to abortion. Last week, the Missouri Supreme Court dismissed the case.
Last week, a member of the Satanic Temple in Missouri lost a lawsuit filed against a pro-life state law. The case itself was filed by ‘Mary Doe’ because she disagreed “with the Missouri informed consent laws on abortion.” Prior to the Missouri Supreme Court dismissing the suit, Mary Doe had taken her case to multiple lower courts. Each time, her case was thrown out. Why did she file the suit, though? What bothered Doe about the informed consent law?
For starters, the Satanic Temple argues that the state of Missouri “trampled on Doe’s religious rights by requiring that she undergo an ultrasound and receive a booklet with information about her unborn baby’s development, abortion risks and alternatives to abortion.” Under state law, women seeking abortions are also required to wait at least 72 hours before going through with the procedure.
Doe primarily took issue with the informed consent laws. According to the Satanic Temple, laws such as Missouri’s informed consent laws “violate two core tenets of their beliefs,” including the belief that “one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone,” and, “beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.”
Judge Laura Denvir Stith disagreed with Doe’s complaints, though, and four of her fellow justices sided with her. According to Stith, Doe “could have refused to accept the booklet.” She added that the “state does not require ultrasounds prior to abortions; rather, ultrasounds are a routine procedure conducted by abortion facilities.” Her ruling further stated:
“The informed consent law neither requires a pregnant woman to read the booklet in question nor requires her to have or pay for an ultrasound. And, while Ms. Doe mentions the 72-hour waiting period, she does not allege how that waiting period conflicts with her religion nor that it was an undue burden, nor did she seek to enjoin its enforcement prior to the expiration of that waiting period.”
Chief Justice Zell M. Fischer wrote a similar opinion that “refuted the Satanists’ religious Freedom claims.” In his opinion, Fischer said, “the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that state speech is not religious speech solely because it ‘happens to coincide’ with a religious tenet.”
State Attorney General Eric Schmitt welcomed the ruling and issued the following statement:
“The informed consent law is a common-sense measure designed to protect women from undue pressure and coercion during the sensitive decision of whether or not to have an abortion, and we applaud the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision in this case.”
Despite the Satanic Temple’s claims that it’s the state’s informed consent laws somehow go against science in favor of religious beliefs, the court ruled that the “Missouri informed consent law is based on scientific facts, not Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or any other religion’s beliefs.”