UPDATED: Satanic Temple victorious over Missouri in abortion rights showdown

A local CBS affiliate is reporting that The Satanic Temple has prevailed in its showdown with the state of Missouri over its abortion restrictions.

According to 9News, Missouri’s Solicitor General D. John Sauer declared ultrasounds are not required to obtain an abortion in the state.

According to a press release from the Satanic Temple, in an audio recording of the arguments published by the court, Justices of the court asked the State’s representative if, “it’s the position of the State that an ultrasound does not have to be conducted unless a person says they want the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat.”

Missouri’s Solicitor General Sauer affirms that the State’s interpretation of statute (MO Rev Stat § 188.027) is that women only be offered the “opportunity,” to have an ultrasound and listen to the fetal heartbeat, and if a woman declines hearing the audio, the ultrasound need not be performed and the requirement has been satisfied.

On Tuesday, the Temple argued their case in front of the Missouri Supreme Court after convincing an appeals court that the state’s mandatory 72-hour waiting period and ultrasound viewing before having an abortion violates their religious freedom.

The Temple spoke on behalf a member they refer to as “Mary Doe,” who claimed the law is counter to her religious beliefs. Mary Doe says that back in May of 2015, she was forced to view an ultrasound of her fetus and required to read a booklet that stated life “begins at conception.”

Doe argued that her religious freedom was violated because she “adheres to principles of the Satanic temple and has sincerely held religious beliefs different from the information in the informed consent booklet.”

“Specifically, her letter advised she has deeply held religious beliefs that a nonviable fetus is not a separate human being but is part of her body and that abortion of a nonviable fetus does not terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being,” the case summary stated according to NBC News.

In a post to Twitter on Wednesday, Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said that while a ruling “has yet to be handed down, [Missouri] abdicated mandatory ultrasounds during oral arguments in yesterday’s hearing.”

UPDATE, May 25, 2019: On February 13 of this year, the Missouri Supreme Court dismissed the case brought by the Satanic Temple on behalf of “Mary Doe.”

From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

In an opinion written by Judge Laura Denvir Stith, and agreed to by four other judges, the court ruled that Doe failed to allege a constitutional violation.

The court also said that while Doe alleged “requirements” under Missouri law violated her rights, the court said there are no such requirements. The court said she was free to turn down the “offer” of an ultrasound and a booklet.

Despite the setback of the February ruling, the Temple is challenging Missouri in the courts over abortion rights again. Last April, the Associated Press reported that the Temple is challenging the state’s law that requires women seeking an abortion to wait three days, saying that it violates a member’s religious freedom.

The Temple filed the appeal to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a woman listed this time as “Judy Doe.”

As the AP points out, the Missouri law requires a three-day waiting period before an abortion and says a women must be offered an ultrasound or the opportunity to listen to the fetal heartbeat, along with a booklet that reads “the life of each human being begins at conception.”

Featured image via Facebook/The Satanic Temple


Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.