A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that Missouri’s abortion law doesn’t violate the religious freedom of a Satanist. The law requires doctors to give women a pro-life booklet and undergo an ultrasound before they have an abortion. A female member of the Satanic Temple, Judy Doe, filed the lawsuit in early 2018. She complained that the state’s idea that life begins at conception goes against the First Amendment’s establishment clause and free exercise clause.
Two Trump appointees and a George W. Bush appointee made up the judicial panel. Doe made the argument that according to her religious beliefs, a baby in the womb is just tissue and isn’t viable. She also claimed that it is her right to make decisions for her health based on science even if her scientific beliefs don’t agree with others’ religious or political ideas. Additionally, Doe made the point that it’s her right alone to decide whether or not tissue should be removed from her body.
The state, on the other hand, argued that Doe isn’t being forced to align her beliefs with what the law stipulates since she isn’t required to read the literature handed to her by the doctor and isn’t forced to look at the results of the ultrasound. She testified in court that the only thing she was required to do was sign a document to acknowledge that the doctor gave her pro-life literature and an ultrasound.
Based on that key piece of testimony, the judges ruled to uphold the lower court’s decision to let the law stand because Doe admitted in her testimony that the law is neutral since the only thing she was required to do was make an acknowledgement of what was offered by the doctor under the law. Furthermore, the judges determined the law displayed a “rationally related … legitimate government interest” which is all that is needed to make a law valid in this particular instance. Having lost at both the district court and appellate court, Doe’s attorney plans to file a motion for the entire Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case, criticizing the three-judge panel for having only conservative judges.
Apart from her own admission that did her in, Doe seems to have made weak arguments all around. The fact that she claims babies in the womb are just tissue while claiming her religious beliefs are based on science is either an outright lie on her part and/or reveals her complete ignorance. Scientifically speaking, if something is just tissue from one’s own body, the tissue will have the exact DNA of that person. A fetus/baby in the womb has its own unique DNA that is NOT the exact DNA of the mother. Biology, therefore, proves that the baby is their own separate person. And that’s not rocket science.
Source: Joe Harris, Satanist Loses Challenge to Missouri Abortion Consent Law, CourthouseNews.com, June 9, 2020.