Satanic Salem Temple challenges Texas abortion law, arguing for religious freedom

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“As jurists wring their hands over Texas lawmakers’ attack on Roe v. Wade, Satanists are using a creative approach to allow Texas women access to abortion: religious freedom,” said the group said in a statement.

An attorney for the group, which is a tax-exempt official religion, filed a letter with the Food and Drug Administration last week arguing that its members in Texas should be able to access abortion drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol without be subject to its regulations.

The law, which includes a provision that allows individuals to sue anyone they believe has carried out the procedure after six weeks or “aids and encourages” them, has sparked a series of attempts to undermine it, the ministry Justice saying it is exploring ways to challenge the law and Uber and Lyft pledging to cover legal fees for drivers who could be sued under the bill.

The Satanic Temple, which was founded in 2013, has no connection with the Church of Satan, and its website notes that the two are often confused. The Temple is “decidedly non-theistic” and “does not approve of supernatural (or” supernormal “) explanations,” its website says. Its mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy, to reject tyrannical authority, to defend common sense, to oppose injustice and to undertake noble activities,” according to its website.

The Temple cited the federal law on the restoration of religious freedom, under which Native Americans can access peyote for their religious rituals, as saying the group should have access to abortion drugs for religious purposes.

“TST members use these products in a sacramental setting,” the letter said, adding that “the satanic abortion ritual is a sacrament that surrounds and includes the act of abortion.”

“I’m sure Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who spends much of his time writing press releases on religious freedom issues in other states, will be proud to see Texas’ robust laws on religious freedom, which he so vehemently defends, will prevent future abortion rituals from being interrupted by unnecessary government restrictions intended only to shame and harass those seeking an abortion, ”said Lucien Greaves, spokesperson and co-founder of the Satanic Temple, in a press release.

Satanists believe bodily autonomy is “sacrosanct,” Greaves added.

“The battle for the right to abortion is largely a battle of competing religious views, and our view that the non-viable fetus is part of the fertilized host is fortunately protected by religious freedom,” indicates the press release.

The group has already taken action on state laws governing abortion.

In 2019, the Temple sued Missouri for its law requiring women seeking abortions to receive a pamphlet that states, “The life of every human begins at conception. Abortion will end the life of a distinct, unique, living human being. In June 2020, an appeals court dismissed the lawsuit.

The group then appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.

“While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court has ruled on our case, we still have the power to demand that states respect the religious rights of Satanists when they receive reproductive care,” the Temple website says. “The progress of this trial to demonstrate the legal merits of our case is only one step in our fight to obtain reproductive care in accordance with our principles.”


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @ amandakauf1.



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