The Satanic Temple is seeking a court declaration to allow abortions for their members, claiming that the laws violate their “religious freedom” to perform “abortion rituals.”
The Satanists argue that the laws violate their “right to a religious accommodation of its members to engage in the abortion ritual under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”
They also claim that “TST has a constitutional right under the Texas Constitution to the free exercise of their religious practices, including the abortion ritual” and “First Amendment ‘conduct,’ including TST’s religious abortion ritual, is not permitted to be the target of civil actions filed under SB8.”
“SB8’s ban on abortions after six weeks infringes upon our members’ rights to engage with their chosen religion and to participate in religious rites and rituals,” The Satanic Temple’s Director of Campaign Operations Erin Helian said in a press release provided to The Gateway Pundit. “In accordance with our Third Tenet, The Satanic Temple will push back against the Texas legislature’s violation of our members’ bodily autonomy and freedom of choice.”
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The Satanic Temple is also engaged in another lawsuit before the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas against the state of Texas for “impeding the free exercise rights of a member seeking an abortion.”
According to the group’s press release, “the member was met with state-mandated interventions prior to the procedure, designed by the legislature to discourage people from seeking abortions. Texas’s current state laws require doctors to administer legally mandated, though not medically necessary, procedures before obtaining an abortion.”
The Satanic Temple complained that the “mandate forces patients to be given a sonogram, to be provided the results of that test, to be given a narrative written by the Texas legislature about the supposed meaning of the sonogram results, and a mandatory waiting period following the sonogram before the abortion can be administered. These steps aim to manipulate those seeking abortion care into altering their decision, thus interfering with freedom of choice and bodily autonomy.”
“The Temple will work tirelessly to do our best to protect the religious rights of members who want to engage in TST’s abortion ritual,” added Helian.
The temple previously attempted to use religious freedom to fight abortion laws in Missouri, but failed.
Their latest move is unlikely to work based on the decision in Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the state could deny unemployment benefits to a person fired for violating a state prohibition on the use of peyote, even if used during part of a religious ritual.
The case ultimately set the precedent that states are allowed to accommodate illegal acts if they are performed in pursuit of religious beliefs, but they are not required to do so.