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  • The Satanic Temple Appeals Missouri Abortion Lawsuit to US Supreme Court

    Published on October 6, 2020

    SALEM, MA — The Satanic Temple (TST) has appealed a member’s reproductive rights case to the US Supreme Court in response to the Eighth Circuit Court’s dismissal of TST’s claim that Missouri abortion laws violate TST’s religious beliefs.

    When TST member Judy Doe sought to terminate her pregnancy in the state of Missouri, she was faced with legal requirements that contravene her religious beliefs and were not medically necessary. Missouri mandated that she receive literature which asserts that “the life of each human being begins at conception,” and that “[a]bortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.” Doe was also required to endure a 72-hour waiting period, designed so that the state’s position on life, which contradicts a prior legal ruling by the Eighth Circuit, will be thoroughly considered before undergoing the procedure.

    TST argued in their lawsuit that the mandated imposition of religious opinions upon Satanists seeking to terminate a pregnancy violates TST’s deeply-held beliefs of bodily autonomy and scientifically-reasoned personal choice.

    The Eighth Circuit Court refused to consider TST’s arguments that the state’s informed consent laws violate the “undue burden” standard established in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and that the government has violated Doe’s right to the free exercise of religion. Although the Court openly acknowledged that those issues were raised, the Court said that those claims were not explicitly alleged in the initial complaint. After a request for a rehearing on June 9th, Missouri once again refused to consider TST’s arguments.

    TST cofounder and spokesperson Lucien Greaves feels strongly that the Court is demonstrating religious discrimination against Satanists and believes that Christians making a qualitatively similar claim would not endure such difficulty in obtaining a legitimate ruling. Greaves states, “The Eight Circuit Court has unearthed its fundamental corruption by using the Justices’ personal biases to make decisions that are bereft of established legal precedence. The anti-choice constituency is celebrating the decimation of jurisprudence as if the Court’s refusal to rule somehow constitutes a success. It is deeply disturbing that the Justices have unapologetically undermined our nation’s founding principle of religious liberty in deference to their own prejudices. Every citizen should be outraged when the courts deprive a religious minority of their Constitutional rights.”

    TST has appealed the case once more. This time, they hope their audience will be the US Supreme Court. Greaves adds, “It would be a dark day for America and a fatal blow to the justice system if the Supreme Court refuses to consider our case. The Supreme Court might not rule in our favor, but they have an obligation to right a wrong by hearing our arguments and ruling on their merits. Missouri left us with no choice but to appeal the case, and we hope the Supreme Court will rectify this injustice.”