… Planned Parenthood of St. Louis is currently the only abortion provider in the state. Not only does Mary live hundreds of miles away, but there is also a dehumanizing 72 hour waiting period between her initial appointment and the procedure itself. This means that Mary must either find lodging or make the trip twice. She doesn’t have the means to do this.
As it turns out, though, Missouri also has its own version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which provides a defense for people who believe the law restricts their free exercise of religion.
And The Satanic Temple, to which Mary belongs, says that “one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.” So the 72-hour waiting period violates her beliefs.
Earlier today, Mary visited Planned Parenthood requesting to have an abortion. When they told her she had to wait three days, she “presented the clinic with a waiver of exemption” from The Satanic Temple.
It didn’t work. They rejected it. Now, Mary is petitioning for injunction against Governor Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster.
According to The Satanic Temple’s Lucien Greaves,
… we found it horrifically difficult to secure legal counsel on necessarily short notice. Most every referral and suggestion led us back to the ACLU, which has mysteriously chosen to ignore us entirely. Having exhausted all options we were aware of for pro bono representation, TST has had to retain legal counsel at our own expense…
They’re raising funds on behalf of Mary right here.
Will it work? Who knows, but if a court dismisses the challenge, on what grounds would it be thrown out? It’s not up to the court to decide what constitutes a “proper” religion; if it’s a sincerely-held belief, isn’t that all that matters?
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