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Satanic Temple again challenges Missouri abortion law on religious grounds

A Satanic church is using the First Amendment to challenge Missouri's abortion laws on the grounds of religious freedom.

The Satanic Temple last week filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of plaintiff Judy Doe arguing that the state's informed consent law, which mandates a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion, is unconstitutional.

An earlier federal lawsuit filed in 2015 was dismissed by a U.S. District court judge because the plaintiff was not pregnant at the time. That case is now pending before the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The most recent lawsuit says the plaintiff is currently pregnant. It names as defendants Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Josh Hawley and members of the state board of healing arts. They have not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

A separate challenge in state court was dismissed and is on appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Missouri law requires a woman seeking an abortion be given the opportunity to see an ultrasound of the fetus and hear the heartbeat 72 hours before the abortion is performed. It also requires the woman be given a booklet that says human life begins at conception. The Satanic Temple contends that promotes a religious belief.

The Satanic Temple says it will continue to fight what it views as "draconian" restrictions on abortion.

"Missouri lawmakers are going to be forced to accept that there are religious perspectives. just as deeply held, that may directly contradict their own religious beliefs and directives," Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said in a statement announcing the new lawsuit.

The Satanic Temple calls itself "a non-theistic religious organization" whose mission is to "encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will."

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