Salem-based Satanic Temple defies Texas abortion law, arguing for religious freedom

“While legal scholars join hands with Texas lawmakers’ attack on Roe vs. Wade, Satanists use a creative approach to allow Texas women access to abortion: religious freedom, ”he said. group in a statement.

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

The law, which includes a provision that allows people to sue anyone they believe has performed the procedure after six weeks or who “helps and encourages” it, has led to several attempts to undermine it, with the Justice Department says it is exploring ways to defy the law and Uber and Lyft are committed to covering the legal fees of drivers that may be sued under the law.

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

The Temple cited the Federal Restoration of Religious Freedom Act, according to which Native Americans can access the peyote for their religious rituals, stating that the group should have access to abortion drugs for religious purposes.

“Membership in TST uses these products in a sacramental setting,” the letter states, adding that the “Ritual of Satanic Abortion is a sacrament that surrounds and includes the aborted act.”

“I’m sure Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who famously spends much of his time writing press releases on religious freedom issues in other states, will be proud to see that Texas’ robust religious freedom laws, which he advocates so loudly, will avoid Future abortion rituals would not be interrupted by superfluous government restrictions that meant only embarrassing and harassing those who want to abort, “Lucien Greaves, spokesman and co-founder of the Satanic Temple, said in a statement.

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

“The battle for abortion rights is largely a battle of competing religious views, and our view that the unviable fetus is part of the impregnated host is fortunately protected under religious freedom.” states the statement.

The group has taken action before when it comes to state laws governing abortion.

In 2019, the Temple sued Missouri over its law requiring women seeking an abortion to receive a pamphlet stating, “Every human being’s life begins from conception. Abortion will end the life of a living, unique and separate human being. In June 2020, an appeals court dismissed the lawsuit.

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

“While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court has relayed our case, we are still empowered to require states to respect the religious rights of Satanists when they receive reproductive care,” the Temple website states. “The progress of this lawsuit to demonstrate the legal merits of our case is only one step in our struggle to obtain reproductive care in accordance with our Principles.”

Amanda Kaufman can be contacted at Follow her on Twitter @ amandakauf1.

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