The Satanic Temple Sues Texas Over Abortion
The Satanic Temple (TST) has recently filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas alleging that certain state-mandated abortion restrictions violated the religious beliefs of TST members. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a member referred to as “Ann Doe” regarding medically unnecessary regulations that Texas has put in place.
The member, Ann Doe, performed the ‘Abortion Ritual’ which is described as “a ceremonial affirmation of self-worth and bodily autonomy that integrates the abortive process”. Prior to filing the lawsuit, TST’s lawyer reached out to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission demanding a religious exemption from the unnecessary regulations. Typically, abortion procedures in Texas include “a sonogram, a forced decision to reject the ‘opportunity’ of seeing the sonogram results, the forced listening to a narrative of the sonogram results, and a mandatory waiting period between the sonogram and the abortion”.
The Satanic Temple’s Lawyer explained:
“The abortion ritual (1) requires an abortion; and (2) affirms her religious subscription to TST’s Third and Fifth Tenets. But before Ms. Doe can get her abortion–and therefore participate in the abortion ritual–the government has required that she get a sonogram… [ These ] requirements substantially interfere with Ms. Doe’s religious beliefs and practices for two reasons. First, 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.”
Texas, a deeply Christian Conservative state, has been the face of multiple challenges to Religious Liberty and Bodily Autonomy. The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, a Republican ‘social conservative’ has frequently and publicly criticized “Anti-Christian Discrimination” in schools and society. Paxton has put his support behind clerks who refused to allow LGBT couples to marry, claimed that “liberal, antifa activists” were responsible for the Capitol Building Riots, and is currently a part of an ongoing Securities and Investment Fraud case.
Paxton has gone so far as to object to a high school using a multi-purpose room as a prayer room for students of Muslim Faith. He claimed the prayer room was ‘excluding students of other faiths’ when in reality it was by faculty and students for all kinds of activities, including grading papers and Buddhist meditation. Paxton never reached out to the school and the superintendent called his actions a “publicity stunt” to “politicize a nonissue”.
It is The Satanic Temple’s hope that Paxton will be consistent in his defense of Religious Liberty and grant the exemption for Ann Doe and other members. A spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, said:
“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.”
You can read more about The Satanic Temple, their case against Texas, and other actions they have taken in the name of secularity and religious freedom on their website.