Friday, May 01, 2015

Satanic Temple Member Claims State RFRA Exemption To Missouri's Abortion Waiting Period

Friendly Atheist reports this week on plans by a member of the Satanic Temple to challenge Missouri's requirement for a 72-hour waiting period for abortions by asserting a religious freedom claim.  Missouri has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (MO Rev. Stat Section 1.302.1).

Missouri law (MO Rev. Stat. Section 188.027.1)  requires that: "The physician who is to perform or induce the abortion or a qualified professional shall provide the woman with the opportunity to view at least seventy-two hours prior to the abortion an active ultrasound of the unborn child and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child if the heartbeat is audible." Using an exemption form developed by the Satanic Temple, the Missouri native identified as "Mary" claims that her sincerely held Satanic Temple beliefs are that her body is inviolable and subject to her will alone, and that inviolable body includes any fetal tissue so long as it is unable to survive outside her body as an independent human being.

Planned Parenthood of St. Louis is the only abortion provider in Missouri, and Mary lives hundreds of miles away from it, making a 72 hour wait after her initial appointment difficult. The head of the Satanic Temple says it will pursue litigation if Mary's exemption claim is not honored. Last year, using similar arguments, the Satanic Temple launched a campaign against "informed consent" laws that require abortion providers to furnish women certain informational material when they seek an abortion. (See prior posting.)