The new Texas law banning nearly all abortions after six weeks is a violation of “our religious rights,” the Satanic Temple claimed last week.
After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to issue an injunction against the legislation, which took effect this month, the Satanic Temple announced it is taking “legal action” against the Lone Star State to defend its adherents’ “religious rights,” referring to the act of terminating a pregnancy as a “religious abortion ritual” and “a ceremony rooted in our deeply held beliefs.”
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“This ritual may be performed by our members as a way to fortify self-worth, instill confidence, and provide spiritual comfort,” the organization stated on its website. “The performance of the Satanic abortion ritual is protected by religious liberty laws. It exempts Satanists from fulfilling any medically unnecessary and unscientific requirement, such as mandatory waiting periods or unwanted sonograms, that interferes with the practice of our ritual.”
The Satanic Temple announced its intention to take legal action last Thursday.
It said abortion laws in Texas “violate our religious rights and [the Satanic Temple] has taken legal action,” adding, “If [Texas] judges abide by the Constitution and legal precedent, then those who share our deeply held beliefs will be exempt from the state’s inappropriate efforts to restrict access to abortion services.”
The following day, the group urged its Texas members to seek an illegal abortion “within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy” and vowed it is “ready to assist” anyone who violates the state’s so-called “heartbeat” law, known as S.B. 8, by undergoing “the Satanic Abortion Ritual.”
Last week, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deny an emergency appeal to stop the Texas law from taking effect. What makes S.B. 8 so unique is that, rather than empowering officials to penalize violators, the law authorizes private citizens to sue anyone who helps facilitate an illegal abortion. Filers can be compensated up to $10,000.
While the Satanic Temple is opposed to the bill, pro-life advocates have praise the law.
Kyleen Wright, CEO of the Texans for Life Coalition, described the “unimagined joy” of seeing Roe v. Wade “crumbling in front of our very eyes.”
Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood executive turned pro-life activist, responded to the high court’s decision by saying, “Of course the abortion lobby is freaking out and they’re saying, ‘Oh, you can put a bounty on someone if you take them to get an illegal abortion.’ But the answer to that is, well then don’t take someone to get an illegal abortion.”
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