Friday, February 22, 2019

Federal District Court Rejects Satanic Temple Follower's Challenge to Missouri Abortion Restrictions

In Doe v. Parson, (ED MO, Feb. 21, 2019), a Missouri federal district court rejected both Establishment Clause and free exercise challenges to Missouri's abortion law.  The suit, filed by a member of the Satanic Temple, challenges the requirement that health care providers furnish women seeking an abortion in Missouri a state-prepared booklet that states, in part, that life begins at conception.  The woman must also be given an opportunity to view an active ultrasound, must sign a certification that she has received the booklet and ultrasound opportunity, and must wait 72 hours before the procedure can be performed.  The court held that
Even though [statements in the booklet] are harmonious with some religious beliefs, they are a permissible expression of the State’s secular interest in protecting the unborn.
The court went on to reject plaintiff's free exercise claim, holding that the Missouri requirements are neutral laws of general applicability.  Earlier this month, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected a similar challenge to Missouri's requirements. (See prior posting.)