Back in February the Judge Henry Edward Autrey dismissed The Satanic Temple’s (TST) case against Missouri informed consent abortion laws. In a newsletter announcement TST has now announced they are appealing Autrey’s decision and will continue to pursue a verdict.
Judy Doe’s Reproductive Rights Case for Abortion On-Demand
The “Judy Doe” case was filed in March of 2018 in federal court while TST’s other “Mary Doe” case was waiting on a decision from the Missouri Supreme Court. This case was dismissed just one week after the State court case was ruled in favor of Missouri in the Mary Doe case after the State ‘clarified’ (pronounced: changed) their guidance on informed consent by saying the law’s ultrasound requirement was optional.
Writing at the time of the dismissal Lucien Greaves, in a statement to Patheos’ Friendly Atheist said:
Missouri is claiming that their mandated “Informed Consent” booklet which states as fact that life begins at conception and that abortion will terminate a unique human life — though contestable as a scientific claim — is merely a belief that overlaps with certain religious beliefs, not necessarily a religious proposition itself. Technically, a non-Christian could believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He shall resurrect at the End of Times, but it is not the place of the government to proselytize such beliefs even if they are to claim an attachment to those beliefs based solely on some inexplicable non-religious preference.
The state has affirmed once more, however, that they do not necessarily expect a woman to read their propaganda or believe it, only that they are being given the opportunity to do so over the course of an imposed three-day waiting period. I believe our appeal will have to challenge the state’s interest in imposing such a wait over a woman’s right to hold religious beliefs, prior to her decision to terminate her pregnancy, that conflict with the state’s proposition, allowing her an exemption from the mandated materials and their attached waiting period. The waiting period serves no function for our plaintiff, and only serves the state’s hope that she will reconsider her position, will feel sufficient guilt and/or shame so as to abandon her beliefs, or otherwise find herself inconvenienced beyond her means to follow through with her decision.
New Appeal “Presents a Challenge for Judges”
According to TST’s release, the central issue of the case is the idea that it isn’t within the purview of government to dictate a religious opinion like “life begins at conception”, which is stated as a belief of the state of Missouri within the informed consent materials. Clearly this opinion is not shared by Judy Doe, other members of TST, and many other religious and non-religious people around the country. TST is basically asking the court to address whether such a religious opinion can be imposed by law.
Eighth Circuit has previously ruled that Missouri’s declaration that life begins at conception was “simply an impermissible state adoption of a theory of when life begins to justify its abortion regulations.” So it appears that in order to support Autrey’s dismissal it would need overturn itself.
Greaves’ statement in the new release says Autrey overstepped by dismissing the case:
“The law is very clearly on our side.” said Greaves. “As we have already witnessed, however, many of the judges in Missouri have been comfortable with disregarding the law and they avoided ruling on the issues we raised. Our appeal presents a challenge for judges who want to defy the law to promote an agenda because the Eighth Circuit will have to overrule itself to deny our claims. It is laughable for theocrats to obviously impose their religious viewpoint into law only to claim that their actions are not discriminatory by virtue of the fact that everybody is equally burdened by the restrictions they’ve created. We are confident that reason will prevail upon appeal.”
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