Judge Dismisses Satanic Temple Suit Seeking ‘Religious Exemption’ From Abortion Waiting Period

baby and motherST. LOUIS, Mo. — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from the atheist group known as the Satanic Temple that sought a religious exemption from a state law requiring mothers to wait 72 hours for an abortion following their initial visit to an abortion facility.

As previously reported, the New York-based Satanic Temple announced in 2014 that it was using the Supreme Court decision in favor of the popular craft chain Hobby Lobby to ‘bolster’ an initiative to seek an exemption from pro-life laws that its members claim to violate their religious beliefs.

The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in June of that year that the federal government cannot force closely-held companies to obey regulations which violate the owners’ religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby has been providing birth control coverage to employees for years, but took issue with four contraceptives that it considered to be abortifacients.

The organization therefore decided that it too would seek an exemption from laws that conflict with its beliefs, such as obtaining information or counseling about abortion before ending the unborn child’s life. It states that “[t]he Satanic Temple believes that the body is inviolable, ­­subject to one’s own will alone.”

The Satanic Temple then crafted a letter for abortion-minded women to present at abortion facilities in search of exemptions and waivers from applicable abortion laws.

“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. … My inviolable body includes any fetal or embryonic tissue I carry so long as that tissue is unable to survive outside my body as an independent human being,” it reads in part.

According to reports, one Missouri woman identified only under the pseudonym “Mary” went to a Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis to obtain an abortion. As employees advised that she must wait 72 hours to undergo the procedure and must obtain an ultrasound, she then presented them with the letter from the Satanic Temple.

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“I personally would have liked to have the procedure done as soon as possible,” “Mary,” who at the time was 12 weeks pregnant, told reporters. “But with all the difficulties, how hard it is do this, it’s been put off for several weeks. If you’re right on the edge of the state you’ve got to go 500 miles just to get to St. Louis, and you have to make arrangements.”

Shortly afterward, she and the Satanic Temple then decided to file suit against the state of Missouri to seek an exemption. The organization argued the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was also cited in the Hobby Lobby decision.

“The decision is substantially motivated and informed by Mary Doe’s belief in the Tenets,” complaint asserted. “Thus its implementation, i.e., getting an abortion, is the ‘exercise of religion’ protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”

This week, U.S. District Judge Henry Edward Autrey dismissed the case as “Mary” is no longer pregnant and therefore now lacks standing in the case. It is unclear as to whether or not she obtained an abortion or gave birth.

“Plaintiff Doe is not now pregnant, there is no guarantee that she will become pregnant in the future, and that if she does, she will seek an abortion, thus, Plaintiffs’ injuries are not sufficiently concrete for the court to order the requested relief,” Autrey wrote.

“Because Plaintiffs have failed [to] allege a threatened injury that is certainly impending and that any future injury is particular and concrete, Plaintiffs have failed to sufficiently establish standing to challenge the Missouri statutes,” he said.

The Satanic Temple says that it plans to appeal as it is disappointed with the dismissal since “you’re not going to find a federal case that is wrapped up in nine months.”


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  • TheBottomline4This

    “the atheist group known as the Satanic Temple that sought a religious exemption” LOL

  • George T

    Love Jesus

    • Joe

      I am confused on where you stand (spiritually speaking) C_Alan? This is what you wrote to “Jack” in a article titled “Does a religious club at David Crockett cross the line?”

      “I certainly don’t get my morals from the Bible.”

      Yet here you say “Love Jesus”.

  • james blue

    Don’t agree with religious exemptions, but I do disagree with the big authoritarian social conservative government tactics requiring non medically necessary ultrasounds and waiting periods.

  • Jalapeno

    Can’t be violating a womans first amendment right to exercise her religion…

  • Michael D Coxie

    to the atheist group known as “the satanic temple” how can you be “atheist” and yet be part of the “satanic temple” that is a lie within itself.’ makes no sense… none what so ever. hmm….

    • Jalapeno

      Religions don’t need to actually believe in a supernatural power.

      • Michael D Coxie

        no no for it to be a religion it must have a deity as it’s figurehead for example the Buddhists have deified Buddha the Muslims Mohummd and so forth BUT an atheist does NOT believe in the existence of EITHER a GOD or a devil so therefore a satanist can NOT be an atheist

        • Jalapeno

          Not at all. Some people won’t consider it a religion PERSONALLY, but as far as the law is concerned…

          • Michael D Coxie

            I’m not sure I follow can u please help me understand ty

          • Jalapeno

            As far as the law is concerned, there is no need for a supernatural belief or a deity at all in order to be considered a religion.

            Some PEOPLE might believe otherwise, but the law is pretty clear.

          • Michael D Coxie

            i wasn’t looking from a legal aspect sorry

          • Jalapeno

            Context is important.

          • Michael D Coxie

            with all due diligence and respect do you feel that way when you read a binding legal contract? I feel it’s the same thing where these women are concerned.

          • Jalapeno

            Feel… What way? Like waiting periods are pointless?

            Absolutely.

          • Michael D Coxie

            I disagree we are talking about a human life here. I know you may or may not agree with me, BUT how many women have either 1 many years down the road wondered why they ever did what they did by ever having the abortion in the first place? 2. How many father’s have NEVER been told that they have a son or daughter because the mother did not bother to take the time to consider the father’s wishes? Please btw don’t tell me the father doesn’t have the right to know. because he was there when the baby was made so he has a fundamental right to be there when or if the baby is aborted. 3 has anyone ever did a psychological study on how to prepare BOTH parents for the long term effects of this decision not just immediate… but say 10, 20 30 years down the road?? just curious. am I misunderstanding are you saying that they should be allowed to do this w/o waiting periods or that they NEED waiting periods. please clarify. ty.

          • Jalapeno

            There have been studies on whether or not most women regret their abortions..not as long term as you want but there’s no reason to think that it’s necessary.

            Waiting times do not actually force women to think more about it. Heck, all the women I know already have a plan in mind for if they get pregnant, and if they don’t they can wait to make the appointment until they’re sure. People know what’s best for them.

            Waiting periods DO make it harder for people who are sure… That’s the main goal for most people, tricking people out of an abortion without technically infringing on their rights.

          • Michael D Coxie

            how easy is it to dismiss the question of father’s rights in this issue by simply saying ” I don’t know who the father is”?

          • Jalapeno

            I’m talking about waiting periods…not fathers rights. I know you mentioned them, but it’s not really part of the context at all…but…okay.

            Men don’t get a special right over the womans body or special access to her medical procedures. She, morally, should notify him and offer him the chance to be there but there’s no legal precedence for requiring it.

  • Gena B

    Waiting for an appointment (72 hours) okay fine, but forced ultrasound? Unless there is a medically necessary reason for it I think by subjecting women to see their unborn child is like trying to guilt them into changing their minds?