Turning the table on conservative Christians, the Satanic Temple is suing Missouri’s governor and attorney general in federal court, alleging that the state’s abortion restrictions violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Defending a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion, the Satanic Temple filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday challenging Missouri’s “informed consent” and waiting period laws, which the temple claims violate members’ sincerely held religious beliefs.
In a novel argument, the suit argues that Missouri’s abortion laws violate the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from endorsing a particular religious belief. The Satanists argue that Missouri’s abortion regulations promote the religious belief “that human tissue is, from conception, a separate and unique human being whose destruction is morally wrong.”
In the lawsuit, the Satanists show Missouri’s “informed consent” counseling and waiting period are not medically necessary to make an informed decision on an abortion.
In a statement, Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves said:
The question of when life begins is absolutely a religious opinion, and the state has no business proselytizing religious beliefs. Women of The Satanic Temple, deciding to terminate a pregnancy, and informed in their decision to do so by their adherence to Satanic tenets, are having their religious freedoms violated when subjected to state-mandated ‘informed consent’ propaganda.
The lawsuit claims that the law causes “pregnant members of The Satanic Temple to endure delay, doubt, guilt and shame when they exercise their religious beliefs to abort human tissue in accordance with the Satanic Tenets.”
The lawsuit asserts:
All women who are contemplating getting an abortion in Missouri have the right, pursuant to the First Amendment, to exercise their freedom to believe when human life begins and act upon their belief without interference or influence by the state of Missouri.
Commenting on the case, an attorney representing Mary Doe and the Satanic Temple said:
Our view is the waiting period in Missouri and requirement for women to learn all the information about the physical characteristics of the fetus is simply preaching. The goal (of the lawsuit) is to get the restrictions eliminated across the board.
The Satanic Temple describes itself as facilitating “the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty.”