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For Immediate Release

The Satanic Temple Makes Historic Win for Abortion Rights


Contrary to medical clinics’ interpretation of the law, Missouri’s Solicitor General declares that
ultrasounds are not required to obtain an abortion in Missouri.

January 24, 2018 — In an unprecedented triumph for The Satanic Temple, D. John Sauer,
Missouri’s Solicitor General announced to the State’s Supreme Court that ultrasounds are not
mandatory to obtain an abortion. This information no doubt comes as a surprise to Missouri’s
abortion providers who regularly perform ultrasounds they have perceived as mandated by the
State. The issue arose during oral arguments in The Satanic Temple’s (TST) lawsuit, which
asserts that State interference with the ability for a member of TST, named “Mary Doe,” to
terminate her pregnancy violates her rights under Missouri’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act
(RFRA) because that interference has no medical or other compelling purpose. In addition, the
suit maintains that the Missouri regulations violate the First Amendment rights of TST members.

The Satanic Temple’s attorney argued that the imposition of an ultrasound and the opportunity to
hear the fetal heartbeat were both medically unnecessary and an attempt to impose shame upon
Mary, in violation of her personal religious beliefs. In an audio recording of the arguments
published by the court, Justices of the court asked the State’s representative if, “it’s the position
of the State that an ultrasound does not have to be conducted unless a person says they want the
opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat.” (13:16) Mr. Sauer affirms that the State’s interpretation
of statute (MO Rev Stat § 188.027) is that women only be offered the “opportunity,” to have an
ultrasound and listen to the fetal heartbeat, and if a woman declines hearing the audio, the
ultrasound need not be performed and the requirement has been satisfied (15:20).

While an ultrasound may be performed for medical reasons by a clinic to determine the
gestational age, medical abortion can safety be accomplished without an ultrasound in the first
trimester. “The State’s interpretation of the law will allow women in Missouri seeking an
abortion to do so with a level of dignity not currently available to them,” says Satanic Temple
reproductive rights spokesperson Jex Blackmore. “Women will no longer be forced to decide
whether or not they want to listen to the fetal heartbeat while naked, with their feet in stirrups,
and a transvaginal ultrasound wand inside of them.” With the State’s clarification, some clinics
may allow women to opt out of the ultrasound if not medically necessary. “Ultrasounds will be
elevated to the realm of a medical procedure rather than an experienced shared with the State’s
political and religious beliefs,” says Blackmore.

The Supreme Court of Missouri’s verdict in The Satanic Temple v. Attorney General Joshua D.
Hawley has not yet been reached, however, it’s clear that the State’s imposition of a religious
opinion regarding the beginning of life and mandated 72-hour waiting period intended to force
women to consider the State’s beliefs, is a violation of individual religious liberties of those who
do not agree with the State’s position. “A ruling against us would demonstrate that the courts
believe that religious liberties as they relate to reproductive rights exclusively apply to Christians
such as in the Hobby Lobby case,” says Blackmore. “We look forward to proving our case in
court, and liberating women of alternative faiths from the State’s oppressive theocratic
stranglehold over personal medical health procedures.”
The Satanic Temple is accepting donations to offset legal costs, which are not pro-bono.
Donations may be made through their website at: https://religiousreproductiverights.com/

Visit Soundcloud for scrollable audio of the oral arguments.

About The Satanic Temple


The Satanic Temple is a non-theistic religious organization dedicated to Satanic practice and the
promotion of Satanic rights. The Temple understands the Satanic figure as a symbol of man’s
inherent nature, representative of the eternal rebel, enlightened inquiry and personal freedom
rather than a supernatural deity or being. The mission of The Satanic Temple 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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