Court dismisses Satanists’ case against pro-life laws
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Satanists who argued Missouri's abortion laws interfere with their constitutional freedom of religion saw their case thrown out by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week.
The lawsuit brought by the Satanic Temple and an anonymous woman, referred to only as Mary Doe and described as a member of the Satanic Temple in court documents, was dismissed by the court because Doe lacked constitutional standing.
"After becoming pregnant, she sought an abortion in St. Louis, Missouri," wrote the circuit court judges in their decision. "She complied with certain state-mandated procedures, which the complaint alleges constituted direct and unwelcome personal contact with religion, in violation of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses.”
"After receiving the abortion, she filed this lawsuit in federal court seeking a series of declarations, an injunction, and attorneys’ fees and costs," reads the decision.
In their unanimous ruling, the judges tossed out the lawsuit – upholding a lower court's decision – because Doe was not pregnant when she filed it.
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling,” said Mary Compton, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office. “The attorney general’s office will continue to vigorously defend Missouri’s sensible waiting period law.”
At the center of the lawsuit was the satanists' claim that five statutes and procedures collectively called as the "Missouri Tenents" were an infringement on Doe's right to freedom of religion.
Those so-called Missouri Tenents require informed consent before a woman can get an abortion, requiring physicians to offer these pregnant women a booklet stating the scientific fact that "the life of each human being begins at conception."
Missouri’s pro-life laws also require that physicians give pregnant women an opportunity to get an ultrasound and hear their pre-born baby's heartbeat.
Women seeking abortions in Missouri are then required to wait three days before an abortion will be done.
Abortionists typically perform ultrasounds anyway, often to determine the baby’s age (the abortion pill can only be given if the baby is in the early stages of the first trimester). Some abortions, like the one Abby Johnson witnessed that led her to leave her Planned Parenthood career and become pro-life, are actually ultrasound-guided, to ensure all of the baby is sucked out of his mother’s uterus.
Despite the outcome of this case, Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves has reportedly stated Tuesday's setback is “a mere prelude to victory.”
The Satanic Temple has two similar legal actions involving the same or similar people and arguments, one before a state court and the other before a federal court.
In late January, one of those cases was heard by the Supreme Court of Missouri but no decision has yet been handed down.
Then, in late February, a woman identified only as Judy Doe filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. As of last week, the district court had not yet ruled on the defendants’ motion to dismiss that case.