Tags: Abortion | satanists | abortion | law | Missouri | exemption

Satanists Sue for 'Religious Exemption' to Keep Abortion in Missouri

By    |   Saturday, 09 May 2015 09:27 PM

A branch of the Satanic Temple sued Missouri on Friday seeking a religious exemption to the state's mandatory 72-hour law regarding abortion after a member was denied the procedure at a Planned Parenthood office.

Under the lawsuit, the group is citing the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in the way that Christian businesses and organizations have to avoid providing contraception to their employees, The Daily Beast reports.

The plaintiff is named in the suit as "Mary Doe." She declined to be interviewed by the Daily Beast.

The Satanic Temple filed the action after Doe visited the Planned Parenthood office, handing them a letter stating that the law conflicted with her religious beliefs when she was denied an abortion immediately because of the waiting period, according to the report.

"As an adherent to the principles of the Satanic Temple, my sincerely held religious beliefs are: My body is inviolable and subject to my will alone," the letter says. It ends with, "I respectfully request that you provide me with an abortion today."

The 72-hour waiting period, required in Missouri and three other states, requires women to consider their decision for that time period after requesting an abortion. Oklahoma increased its law from 24 to 72 hours on Thursday, the Daily Beast reports.

According to its website, the Satanic Temple is a group of Satanists with offices in such cities as Detroit, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and St. Louis.

The Daily Beat identified Doug Mesner as a spokesman and founder of the group, "though he goes by a pseudonym, Lucien Greaves."

Mesner told the Daily Beast that he founded the organization two years ago.

The lawsuit is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last July in the Hobby Lobby case, which exempts companies from the Obamacare contraception mandate because of their religious beliefs.

"The decision is substantially motivated and informed by Mary Doe’s belief in the tenets," according to the lawsuit. "Thus its implementation, i.e., getting an abortion, is the 'exercise of religion' protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act."

According to the group's website, one tenet states: "Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world."

Mesner told the Daily Beast that this was being violated in Missouri and other states.

"The informed-consent material women are supposed to be considering is null and void in our opinion," he said. "It’s medically irrelevant and scientifically illegitimate."

Mesner prepared an informed-consent exemption form with other temple leaders — and it was sent with Doe to Planned Parenthood on Friday.

"This is something we thought about for a long time and it’s been in process for a long time," Mesner told the Daily Beast.

"We have theocrats pushing an agenda through legislation and it’s time we show that other people have different values and are just as deserving as protections," he added. "We’re not making Christians get abortions if they feel it's wrong. They put a burden on us."

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A branch of the Satanic Temple sued Missouri on Friday seeking a religious exemption to the state's mandatory 72-hour law regarding abortion after a member was denied the procedure at a Planned Parenthood office. Under the lawsuit, the group is citing the Federal Religious...
satanists, abortion, law, Missouri, exemption
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2015-27-09
Saturday, 09 May 2015 09:27 PM
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