By promoting the belief that human life begins at conception, the temple’s attorney James Mac Naughton argued, “the state is actively promoting a religious belief” that conflicts with Doe’s convictions.
“Basically [Doe] was preached to by the state of Missouri, and that’s an establishment clause violation,” Mac Naughton said. “Not everyone believes human life begins at conception.”
The temple argues that the state’s abortion mandates violate Missouri’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the free exercise clause of First Amendment and the establishment clause of the First Amendment ― which prohibits the government from enacting laws that seem to favor any religion over another.
Missouri is one of six states that require patients are told that personhood begins at conception and one of 13 that require patients are told about the fetus’ ability to feel pain, according to the Guttmacher Institute. There are mandatory waiting periods in 27 states, but only four have 72-hour waiting periods ― the longest in the country ― including Missouri.