Mary Doe ex rel. Satan?: Parody, Religious Liberty, & Reproductive Rights

Hammock, Christen

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 Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, 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.


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Columbia Journal of Gender and Law

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August 18, 2022