Abortion Consent Requirement Rooted in Science Not Religion
A Missouri satanist who had an abortion is suing the state to strike down a Missouri law making her wait. In response, on November 10, 2017, the Thomas More Society filed an amici curiae (“friends of the court”) brief with the Missouri Supreme Court on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Missouri Right to Life, supporting the Missouri law and the science behind it.
Missouri law mandates a 72-hour waiting period prior to having an abortion. The woman, an adherent of the so-called “Satanic Temple,” claims that the law violates her religious beliefs and violates her freedom of religion because she, as a satanist, does not believe that life begins at conception.
Attorney Thomas Olp, Thomas More Society Counsel, spoke to the primary issue in the submitted amicus brief. “The abortion waiting period and consent requirements dictated by Mo. Rev. Stat. § 188.027 are based on verifiable scientific facts,” he explained. “The question of when life begins is a scientific question, not a religious one. It is an observable scientific fact that the life of a new, genetically distinct organism of the human species begins at conception.”
The trial court dismissed the case, stating that the woman had failed to plead facts demonstrating her claim that the state is promoting religious dogma.
Olp noted that the woman’s claims are “fundamentally confused.” “She asserts that whether an embryo is a ‘separate unique, living human being’ or ‘a part of her body,’ depends on one’s religious convictions.” “She thinks that the statement: ‘the life of each human being begins at conception’ is a political or religious conviction. And she erroneously claims that it is a matter of religious opinion that abortion ‘will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.’ In fact, none of these are religious or political claims, but established scientific facts.”
The case was decided in favor of the state in Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri, and has now been sent to the state’s supreme court after passing through the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District.
Read the Thomas More Society amici curiae brief filed November 10, 2017, in Mary Doe v. Eric Greitens, et al., with the Missouri Supreme Court on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Missouri Right to Life, here