ST. LOUIS – A member of the Satanic Temple in Missouri is challenging a state law that requires women seeking an abortion to wait three days, saying that it violates the member’s religious freedom.
The Satanic Temple doesn’t believe in a literal Satan but sees the biblical Satan as a metaphor for rebellion against tyranny.
The group’s appeal to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a woman listed only as “Judy Doe” was announced Wednesday by the Salem, Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple. It alleges that the law violates the woman’s First Amendment right to religious freedom.
The Missouri law requires a three-day waiting period before an abortion; that women must be offered an ultrasound or the opportunity to listen to the fetal heartbeat; and that they must be provided a booklet that reads “the life of each human being begins at conception.”
A federal judge dismissed the case in March. The Missouri Supreme Court dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by another Satanic Temple member earlier this year.
An email message seeking comment from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office was not immediately returned. A spokesman for Schmitt said previously that the state law is “designed to protect women from undue pressure and coercion during the sensitive decision of whether or not to have an abortion.”
The group has waged other religious battles. It sought unsuccessfully to install a statue of a goat-headed, winged creature called Baphomet outside the Arkansas and Oklahoma state capitols as counterpoints to Ten Commandments monuments. Members also proposed “After School Satan Clubs” in elementary schools where evangelical Christian “Good News Clubs” operate.
Twenty-seven states require an abortion waiting period, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a national research group that supports abortion rights. Missouri is among five states with the longest waiting period of three days.
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