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Judge dismisses case claiming abortion restrictions violate religious beliefs

Judge dismisses case claiming abortion restrictions violate religious beliefs


JEFFERSON CITY • A Cole County judge last month dismissed a Missouri woman's case claiming the state’s abortion restrictions violate her religious beliefs.

The woman, identified only as Mary Doe to protect her from attacks, is a member of the Satanic Temple, which describes itself as “an association of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty.”

Under the group’s tenets, Doe does not believe having an abortion terminates a separate, living human being, court documents say. So she believes her rights were violated when she was subject to the consent information and the 72-hour waiting period when she went to Planned Parenthood for an abortion.

Missouri law requires abortion providers to give pregnant women information about the physical characteristics of the fetus and the fetus’ ability to feel pain by at least 22 weeks. It also requires that women wait 72 hours before having an abortion.

Judge Joe Beteem last month dismissed those claims, saying Doe's "pleadings fail to allege facts, which if true, state a claim for relief under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act."

Doe already had the abortion.


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Alex Stuckey is a statehouse reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Related to this story

The decision to block the revocation was handed down last month by U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey. Abortions still cannot be performed at the Columbia clinic until a physician affiliated with it has hospital privileges. That makes the St. Louis facility the only legal abortion clinic in the state.

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