The Satanic Temple (TST) has filed both state and federal lawsuits against the state of Missouri on behalf of Mary Doe, a pregnant woman seeking an abortion. Missouri law requires that all women seeking to lawfully terminate their pregnancy must be given reading material claiming that life begins at conception, and they must endure a 72-hour waiting period between their initial appointment and their actual abortion procedure. TST objects to these restrictions on religious grounds because they violate our belief in the inviolability of one’s body.
The case in federal court asserts that the Missouri regulations violate the First Amendment rights of TST members. Because Missouri is using its power to regulate abortion to promote the religious belief that life begins at conception, TST argues that this is a violation of the Establishment Clause. In addition, TST claims that the 72-hour waiting period violates the Free Exercise Clause because it compels TST members to consider a religious proposition with which they do not agree and therefore delays their ability to obtain an abortion on demand.
TST’s case in state court leverages the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was used by Hobby Lobby when they argued that having to provide their employees with health insurance that covered birth control offended their religious beliefs. The Missouri requirements similarly impose religious beliefs upon Mary Doe. TST asserts that state interference with the lawful behavior of a TST member to terminate her pregnancy violates her rights under RFRA when that interference has no medical purpose.