A Missouri judge has ruled that a case involving a member of the Satanic Temple who claims the state’s abortion laws violate her “religious beliefs” has enough basis to warrant it to be transferred to the state’s Supreme Court.
The Kansas City Star is reporting on the case involving a woman known only as “Mary Doe” in court documents, who is arguing that her religion does not adhere to the belief that life begins at conception. Therefore, Missouri abortion laws requiring a 72 hour waiting period, an ultrasound, and a signed form indicating that she read a booklet in which a fetus is described as being a human life from the moment of conception violate the freedom of religion guaranteed to her in the First Amendment.
Doe claims she had an abortion in 2015 in St. Louis and was forced to comply with the state’s laws, some of which caused her “guilt and shame.”
She claims that “the sole purpose of the law is to indoctrinate pregnant women into the belief held by some, but not all, Christians that a separate and unique human being begins at conception,” according to the court’s opinion. “Because the law does not recognize or include other beliefs, she contends that it establishes an official religion and makes clear that the state disapproves of her beliefs.”
The Western District Court of Appeals ruled in her favor, saying that the case presented “a contested matter of right that involves fair doubt and reasonable room for disagreement.”
Writing for the majority, Judge Thomas Newton wrote: “Because we believe that this case raises real and substantial constitutional claims, it is within the Missouri Supreme Court’s exclusive jurisdiction…and we hereby order its transfer.”
The court also stated that “Neither the Missouri Supreme Court nor the U.S. Supreme Court has considered whether a Booklet of this nature, an Ultrasound, an Audible Heartbeat Offer, and a seventy-two-hour Waiting Period violate the Religion Clause rights of pregnant women.”
The suit names Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Josh Hawley and others as defendants.
The case would be the first of its kind to be heard by either the Missouri Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court.
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