A member of the Satanic Temple who challenged Missouri’s informed consent law requiring a waiting period before obtaining an abortion has lost her bid to have the law thrown out.
On Wednesday, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed lower court rulings that claimed the woman, identified in court papers as Mary Doe, did not have her rights violated.
Doe has said she is a member of the Satanic Temple, which calls itself “an association of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
She said that because she believes a fetus is not a separate human being, her rights were violated in three ways when she came to St. Louis for an abortion in 2015. She said being forced to wait 72 hours for an abortion violated her rights, as did being given a booklet Planed Parenthood was required to offer her. The pre-abortion ultrasound she underwent was a violation of her rights as well, she claimed.
Under Missouri law, the booklet all women seeking an abortion are required to be offered states that life begins at conception, The Associated Press reported.
In its opinion, the court ruled against Doe in every major area of conflict.
Doe “alleges requiring her to read the booklet violates her rights under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and both reading the booklet and allegedly requiring her to have an ultrasound violate her rights under the Missouri Religious Freedom Restoration Act … because these alleged requirements conflict with her religious belief a fetus is not a person,” the court wrote.
According to the ruling, she had it all wrong.
Missouri’s “informed consent law neither requires a pregnant woman to read the booklet in question nor requires her to have or pay for an ultrasound. It simply provides her with that opportunity,” the court ruled.
“Nothing in the informed consent law requires a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound, much less to pay for the ultrasound or to listen to the fetal heartbeat,” the opinion added.
“The informed consent law solely requires an abortion provider or another qualified professional to present a woman seeking an abortion with the opportunity to have or to view an ultrasound and, if she chooses to have one, an opportunity to listen to the heartbeat. Ms. Doe and any other woman is free to decline both opportunities.”
“And, while Ms. Doe mentions the 72-hour waiting period, she does not allege how that waiting period conflicts with her religion nor that it was an undue burden, nor did she seek to enjoin its enforcement prior to the expiration of that waiting period,” the court said.
In a statement to the AP, a spokesman for Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt supported the ruling and the law itself.
The law is “designed to protect women from undue pressure and coercion during the sensitive decision of whether or not to have an abortion,” said the spokesman, Chris Nuelle.
James McNaughton, the New Jersey attorney representing Doe, said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the court’s action, according to St. Louis Public Radio.
“The court really avoided dealing with the issues,” he said.
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