Continuing their streak of being the best, smartest, and most compassionate trolls in America, the Satanic Temple is arguing that a Missouri law requiring a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion violates their religious faith. They’re callling on Missouri to waive the waiting period for one of their members, given that a core Satanic religious tenet is control over one’s own body.
In a fundraising video posted to GoFundMe, which we saw via ThinkProgress and the Friendly Atheist, “Damien Ba’al,” the president of the Temple’s St. Louis chapter, says that one of their members, a Missouri woman they’re calling Mary, needs to have an abortion.
“Missouri law has placed many roadblocks in her path, that threaten to deny her right to bodily autonomy,” Ba’al says. “The roadblocks that I speak of are regulations that forced the closure of abortion-providing clinics in Missouri. Planned Parenthood of St. Louis is currently the only abortion provider in the state. Not only does Mary live hundreds of miles away, but there is also a dehumanizing 72-hour waiting period between her initial appointment and the procedure itself. This means that Mary must either find lodging or make the trip twice. She does not have the means to do this.”
And she shouldn’t have to, Ba’al says; Missouri has a longstanding Religious Freedom Restoration law, similar to the ones passed this year in other states. And since Mary’s faith means complete bodily autonomy, well, Ba’al says, “I wasn’t going to stand by and let Mary’s rights be denied by the state. Myself and the rest of the St. Louis chapter of the Satanic Temple will be helping her circumvent these obstacles so that she’s able to make her own deicision about her body and her medical well-being.” They’re also protecting her “sincerely-held religious beliefs,” he adds (a key aspect of the RFRA).
The Temple is raising money on GoFundMe for transportation, lodging, meals, and care for Mary’s child while she’s away. The Friendly Atheist reports that they’ve also drawn up this letter that Mary will present to her physician, which explains her beliefs and reminds him or her that they take precedence over the waiting period requirement.
Lucien Greaves, the Satanic Temple’s chief spokesperson, also told the Friendly Atheist that waiting periods are “insulting” to women, adding, “We created an exemption form for the waiting period that we expect Mary will deliver upon her arrival. We will seek to pursue legal action if that waiver is not respected.”
Besides the special fund for Mary, the Satanic Temple has created a Religious Reproductive Rights Legal Aid Fund, which you can donate to right here.
Update, 4:50: The Riverfront Times spoke exclusively with “Mary,” learning that she’s a 22-year-old mechanic who learned she’s pregnant about three months ago. She called the waiting period “horrible,” telling RFT: ‘“I personally would have liked to have the procedure done as soon as possible. But with all the difficulties, how hard it is do this, it’s been put off for several weeks. If you’re right on the edge of the state you’ve got to go 500 miles just to get to St. Louis, and you have to make arrangements.” Their full interview with her is here.
The Satanic Temple’s logo. Image via Facebook/Satanic Temple