Mary Doe ex rel. Satan?: Parody, Religious Liberty, & Reproductive Rights
47 Pages Posted: 31 May 2019 Last revised: 20 Jun 2021
Date Written: April 26, 2019
In 2015, a woman known as “Mary Doe” challenged a Missouri abortion restriction requiring her to wait seventy-two hours after receiving certain “informed consent” materials before she could obtain an abortion. Mary Doe challenged the restrictions in federal and state court on religious grounds as a member of the Satanic Temple. This paper examines the Satanic Temple’s litigation through the lens of parody — a literary technique that involves repeating another text’s form or content in order to critique it. Mary Doe’s litigation mirrored that of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, in which a for-profit corporation claimed a religious accommodation from the ACA’s contraceptive mandate. The litigation forces two comparisons — between mainstream religious beliefs and other strongly held matters of conscience, and between abortion and other constitutional claims — and illuminates the “distortions” that often appear in reproductive rights litigation.
Keywords: abortion, reproductive rights, reproductive justice, First Amendment, RFRA, religious liberty, Hobby Lobby, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, religious freedom, free exercise, Establishment Clause, Satanic Temple, parody, satire, irony, informed consent
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