Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Satanic Temple says Texas abortion requirements violate religious liberties

Baphomet in Hell House
Baphomet in Hell House

As it is wont to do, the Satanic Temple has filed suit against the state of Texas, following recently-approved state-mandated abortion requirements that the Temple believe violate members’ religious freedoms. The lawsuit is on behalf of Temple members known only as “Ann Doe” over what they call “medically unnecessary” procedures, such as a sonogram, “the forced listening to a narrative of sonogram results,” and a waiting period between the sonogram and the abortion. The Temple believes these procedures aren’t provided with the patient’s well-being in mind but rather the state-imposed them to “guilt and shame” those looking for reproductive care. Thankfully, those reproductive-rights enthusiasts have Satan on their side.

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According to the Temple, these new restrictions impede Doe’s “abortion ritual,” which they describe as “a ceremonial affirmation of self-worth and bodily autonomy.”

“[These] requirements substantially interfere with Ms. Doe’s religious beliefs and practices for two reasons,” wrote an attorney for the Satanic Temple. “The requirements are a precondition to Ms. Doe’s ability to participate in a religious ceremony. It is a substantial interference per se for the state to place a regulatory hurdle–one that costs money–in front of a religious exercise. The state might as well tax and regulate Mass.”

The Temple is currently hoping that the state will allow religious exemptions for these procedures, so followers can conduct their ceremonies under the religious freedoms way the founders envisioned. Essentially, the Satanic Temple is using the Christian right’s legal arguments against them, particularly in Texas, where religious liberties are held in high regard, at least that’s what Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves believes. He writes:

I am sure Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who famously spends a good deal of his time composing press releases about Religious Liberty issues in other states, will be proud to see that Texas’s robust Religious Liberty laws, which he so vociferously champions, will prevent future Abortion Rituals from being interrupted by superfluous government restrictions meant only to shame and harass those seeking an abortion.

The Satanic Temple is no stranger to fights on behalf of its members’ religious liberties. Over the last several years, the Satanic Temple has filed numerous lawsuits around the country, arguing for the freedom of its followers. Earlier this year, they threatened to sue the state of Ohio over requirements that force those looking for an abortion to choose how they want the fetal remains to be discarded. They also threatened Netflix with a lawsuit, accusing the series Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina of cultural appropriation, so you know they’re litigious as, um, hell.

The A.V. Club contacted The Satanic Temple for comment. We’ll update this piece if they respond.

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