Planned Parenthood and the Satanic Temple may not be “joining forces” to fight legislators hell-bent on restricting abortion access in Missouri like Breitbart claims, but the two groups are indeed making strides to help women access abortion services.
According to Think Progress, the Satanic Temple appeared at the Missouri State Court Western Appellate District on Monday to argue that the “Show Me” state’s abortion restrictions violate the religious freedom of one of its members.
The temple specifically took issue with Missouri’s informed consent law, which requires women to read informational pamphlets designed to persuade them to keep the pregnancy, as well as its mandatory 72-hour waiting period between consultations and abortion appointments, which in turn requires abortion patients to cover the financial burdens of additional travel, lodging, and wages lost.
The temple argued that its religion values rational, independent thinking, and that the state is requiring its members to violate their bodily autonomy by abiding to non-scientific abortion processes, which is an infringement on its members’ religious freedom.
The temple vouched for one member in particular, “Mary Joe,” who in 2014 had attempted to use a religious waiver created by the temple to exempt her from Missouri’s abortion laws. While she had the funds for the abortion, she didn’t have the estimated $800 that the laws would have imposed that she pay for the gas, hotel, and child care needed for Missouri’s 72-hour waiting period. Mary Joe’s waiver was rejected, and the Satanic Temple responded by filing state and federal suits in 2015.
Despite the Satanic Temple’s religious freedom argument being much like the one peddled by religious conservatives who fundamentally disagree with covering birth control in healthcare plans, or even with baking cakes for gay couples, Missouri filed a motion last September to dismiss the suit. It argued that the abortion laws simply “coincided” with “tenets of some or all religious,” and did not actually promote the state’s religious beliefs.
The federal case was ultimately thrown out in 2016 because Mary Joe was no longer pregnant. However, the temple has threatened to sue Texas over its fetal burial and cremation laws, which has since been blocked and appealed.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is attempting to get four clinics in the state licensed for abortion services after a federal judge ruled Missouri couldn’t continue to enforce laws requiring that clinics meet certain surgical standards, and that they get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
So, no. Planned Parenthood and the Satanic Temple aren’t in cahoots to promote abortion—but the groups are definitely doing their parts to make sure women in their communities have access to safe, affordable procedures.
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