(LifeSiteNews) — The Satanic Temple (TST) announced plans to attempt to circumvent the expected overturning of Roe v. Wade through a “religious exemption” so that its members can continue to perform its “religious abortion ritual” every place possible in the U.S.
TST announced that, if Roe is overturned, in states that “outlaw abortion but grant exceptions for instances of incest and rape,” they will “likely have to sue” for a religious exemption, which they believe should be permitted according to Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The 2021 case allowed a foster care agency to refuse to hand children over to “married” same-sex couples, as consistent with the constitutional guarantee of free exercise of religion.
Their preparation for a lawsuit is part of TST’s three-pronged plan designed to ensure the continuation of TST’s religious abortion ritual in different legal scenarios, shared last week in response to what they called the “extremely distressing” news that Roe v. Wade “will likely be overturned.”
A TST information sheet explains, “The Satanic Abortion ritual is a destruction ritual that serves as a protective rite. Its purpose is to case off notions of shame, guilt, and mental discomfort that a patient may be experiencing due to choosing to have a legal and medically safe abortion,” the document states.
The ritual involves performing a “medical” or surgical abortion after reciting the Third and Fifth Tenets of TST, which are, “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s will alone,” and “[b]eliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.”
Despite their stated commitment to “science,” TST has objected in prior lawsuits to legal requirements that women read information sheets that affirm the biological reality of an unborn child’s humanity before having an abortion. They maintain that “the question of when life begins is absolutely a religious opinion, and the state has no business proselytizing religious beliefs.”
TST is also determined to continue its abortion rituals in states that completely outlaw abortions without exceptions. They announced that they “will be suing the FDA” to allow their members access to the abortion-inducing drugs Mifepristone and Misoprostol, “for use under medical supervision,” to complete their religious abortion ritual.
According to TST, it is requesting access to these abortion drugs, even where abortion would be entirely outlawed, under the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), adding, “Unfettered access to these drugs would be a considerable step toward enabling TST to perform our abortion ritual without government interference.”
TST further intends to ensure that even in states where abortions remain legal, their members do not have to “endure” obstacles to “immediate access” to abortions, including waiting periods, ultrasounds, and abortion counseling.
In the overview of their “satanic abortion ritual,” TST explains why they consider such hurdles to conflict with their “religious” abortions.
“Even the most confident and unapologetic individual can experience uncomfortable feelings and anxiety for choosing to terminate their pregnancy,” TST writes. “Laws in many states that impose waiting periods and state-mandated counseling can exacerbate these feelings, as can social condemnation and outright harassment by those who oppose abortion.”
TST sued the State of Texas last year over its abortion regulations, such as its sonogram-viewing requirement, for these reasons. They have also sued the State of Missouri in 2015 and again in 2019 for similar abortion regulations. In these cases, they objected to Missouri’s “informed consent” law, which mandated a 72-hour waiting period as well as the presentation of information about abortion’s medical risks and the humanity of the preborn child.
While laying out their new legal plan, TST also announced they are “researching the possibility of creating religious abortion facilities,” and that they will share more about this plan as it unfolds.
The Satanic Temple, which was founded in 2013 and recognized as a “church” by the IRS in 2019, began as a political organization aiming to reduce the presence of religion in the public sphere. In 2017, after Donald Trump signed a “religious freedom” executive order, TST co-founder Lucien Greaves declared in a newsletter that TST “must re-evaluate its prior principled refusal to accept religious tax-exemption.”
“It appears that now is a time in which a more principled stand is to meet our opponent on equal footing, so as to balance, as best we can, what has been a frighteningly asymmetrical battle. As ‘the religious’ are increasingly gaining ground as a privileged class, we must ensure that this privilege is available to all, and that superstition doesn’t gain exclusive rights over non-theistic religions or non-belief,” Greaves continued.
Since then, the group has claimed that its “deeply held beliefs,” “narrative structure,” and use of symbols and practices makes it a church.