Earlier this week, a member of the Satanic Temple lost her challenge in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to Missouri’s informed consent law.
The woman, who was identified in court documents only as Jane Doe, filed suit in February 2018 arguing that her religious rights were infringed upon by being forced to acknowledge that life begins at conception.
Missouri’s informed consent law requires abortionists do a couple of things before the procedure. They must give the women an option to view the ultrasound and the women are given a pamphlet, which states, “The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living, human being.” She must also have a 72-hour waiting period.
Doe argued that this put an “undue burden” on her right to an abortion.
The lawyer for Jane Doe, W. James Mac Naughton, told the three-judge panel, “We have a specific targeted action against a specifically targeted individual against a specifically targeted religious belief.”
Mac Naughton tried to file a similar lawsuit with a different client in 2015, which was thrown out since she wasn’t pregnant at the time of filing.
When challenged about how this booklet infringed upon her rights, he stated, “The physician delivers the booklet, but what you’re basically doing by having the physician do it is give him clerical garb and preach Catholic dogma.”
The court pressed back, asking how this pamphlet equaled ordination.
“If it said it in the booklet that would be one thing,” Mac Naughton said. “If it said in the booklet, ‘Here are all the philosophical bases on which you can decide that your fertilized egg is a human being. Here is the Buddhist tradition, Here’s the Muslim tradition. Here’s the Jewish tradition.’ This would be a different case, but it’s not. It takes a very specific philosophical religious statement.”
Actually, the pamphlet is just stating biological fact. Life does begin at conception.
When an egg is fertilized, the child’s entire DNA sequence is written and he or she immediately begins to grow and develop. There’s a reason why aborted preborn tissue is used in scientific experiments for human application. The only reason why the tissue would be worthwhile is that it is human.
Ironically, Jane Doe argued that her religious beliefs about health are based on a scientific understanding of the world. Court papers said, “She make decisions regarding her health based on the best scientific understanding of the world, even if the science does not comport with the religious or political beliefs of others.”
The court dismissed this argument.
“Doe makes no argument, however, that the informed-consent law is anything other than ‘neutral’ and ‘generally applicable,’” U.S. Circuit Judge David R. Stras wrote in the decision. “In these circumstances, it must only survive rational-basis review, which requires it to be ‘rationally related to a legitimate government interest.’ To the extent Doe argues that the certification requirement lacks a rational basis, we disagree.”
In response, Mac Naughton, Doe’s attorney, said, “This really comes as no surprise.”
It shouldn’t. If Mac Naughton and Jane Doe were basing part of their argument on science, then a closer look at a biology textbook would’ve shown that it is scientific fact that life beings at conception. To argue otherwise is a fool’s errand.
Mac Naughton and Jane Doe have 14 days to file an appeal.