Satanists fight for legal right to kill unborn by abortion in Missouri, claiming religious liberty

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
A woman participates in a demonstration against anti-abortion laws at the congress in San Salvador April, 2015. In June a Missouri a woman filed a lawsuit seeking to nullify abortion restrictions requiring a 72-hour waiting period for an abortion, citing religious liberty that protect Satanic beliefs in the lawsuit. | REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

ST. LOUIS, Mo (Christian Examiner) – A month after The Satanic Temple declared its intention to use religious liberty laws to "protect and promote" the tenets of Satanic beliefs, the group's Missouri chapter filed a lawsuit in federal court last week.

Missouri Satanists and a woman identified as "Mary Doe" filed the suit against Missouri's governor and attorney general June 23 seeking a federal ruling to nullify abortion restrictions that require a 72-hour waiting period.

TST claims that established legislation violates their religious beliefs and the establishment clause which prohibits the government from endorsing religion, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Currently, Missouri law requires abortionists to offer pregnant women educational literature about fetus development as well as an opportunity to see an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child.

"Mary Doe" reportedly received an abortion at a St. Louis Planned Parenthood in May. She now claims that the obligatory waiting period she faced when pursuing the abortion violates her Satanic beliefs and inhibits the exercise of those beliefs by other pregnant satanists who wish "to abort human tissue in accordance with the Satanic Tenets."

The Satanic Tenets deny that life begins at conception and states their followers make health decisions "based on the best scientific understanding of the world, even if the science does not comport with the religious or political beliefs of others."

The lawsuit also claims Missouri's regulation of abortion violates the establishment cause by promoting "some, but not all religious beliefs that human tissue is, from conception, a separate and unique human being whose destruction is morally wrong."

According to the Post-Dispatch, TST's New Jersey based legal counsel, W. James MacNaughton, filed the suit based on the outcome of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby which exempted the religiously-owned retail chain from having to pay for contraception for employees.

"Hobby Lobby really put into the public consciousness the idea that one's religious belief can become a basis for being exempted from state regulations," MacNaughton said.

The Satanic Temple website states the group is crowdfunding in order to pay legal fees and a "reproductive rights campaign" which they claim aims to protect the rights of women who seek abortions through religious exemption.

Surprisingly, as of June 28, the group exceeded its $30,000 fundraising goal with a total of $31,120 raised four days prior to the campaigns designated end date.