When TST member Judy Doe sought to terminate her pregnancy in the state of Missouri, she was faced with legal requirements that contravene her religious beliefs and were not medically necessary. Missouri mandated that she receive literature which asserts that “the life of each human being begins at conception,” and that “[a]bortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.” Doe was also required to endure a 72-hour waiting period, designed so that the state’s position on life, which contradicts a prior legal ruling by the Eighth Circuit, will be thoroughly considered before undergoing the procedure.
TST sued the state of Missouri for imposing its religious doctrine which is contrary to Doe’s deeply-held beliefs. TST believes that decisions regarding one’s health should adhere to the Third and Fifth Tenets, which assert bodily autonomy and decisions based on best scientific evidence. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act protect Doe’s right to adopt her Satanic theory of when life begins.
TST argued in their lawsuit that the mandated imposition of religious opinions upon Satanists seeking to terminate a pregnancy violates TST’s deeply-held beliefs of bodily autonomy and scientifically-reasoned personal choice. Forcing Doe to receive religious materials and presumably contemplate them for three days creates an unconstitutional undue burden.
The Eighth Circuit Court refused to consider TST’s arguments that the state’s informed consent laws violate the “undue burden” standard established in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and that the government has violated Doe’s right to the free exercise of religion. Although the Court openly acknowledged that those issues were raised, the Court said that those claims were not explicitly alleged in the initial complaint. After a request for a rehearing on June 9th, Missouri once again refused to consider TST’s arguments.
TST has filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rulings up to this point have displayed an unethical partiality where legal arguments have not been considered and the justice system has been debased.
The Satanic Temple is appealing because the legal system has explicitly displayed that it is fundamentally corrupt. Rulings have not been made in accordance with the law, but based on the personal biases of the justices. Those who oppose our organization and what we stand for might revel in our defeats in court, but they should not celebrate the decimation of law. One day the Fundamentalists who rejoice in our inability to have access to fair and just courts will no longer be in positions of power and the precedents being set now will allow for them to be unfairly discriminated against as well.
The refusal of the Supreme Court to hear our complaint would be a dark day for America and a huge blow to jurisprudence. The U.S. government was founded on the principles of assuring that marginalized and unpopular groups would receive the same rights and liberties as those in the majority. The TST rulings in Missouri, and elsewhere, so far have revealed precisely the opposite. The Supreme Court might not rule in our favor but they have an obligation to right a wrong and at least hear our case and rule on its merits. For these reasons, we have no choice but to appeal and hope the Supreme Court rectifies this injustice.