In a bizarre attempt at protecting the right to abortions under “religious freedom,” the Satanic Temple is urging women to recite satanic incantations during them as a “satanic abortion ritual.”
The Satanic Temple is protesting waiting periods, mandatory counseling, and “unwanted sonograms,” by claiming that abortion is a satanic practice and should be protected due to religious freedom.
In a press release sent to the Gateway Pundit by a spokesperson, the Satanic Temple said that “Satanists are exempt from these regulations if they undergo first-trimester abortions in accordance with TST’s religious ritual. The satanic abortion ritual involves the recitation of TST’s Third and Fifth Tenets, which celebrate bodily autonomy and the adherence to best scientific practices, along with a personal affirmation that is ceremoniously intertwined with the abortion.”
The organization claims that they are using exemptions on the protections provided by State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA), which generally prohibits the government from substantially interfering with a person’s free exercise of religion. They cited the Hobby Lobby ruling, in which the company successfully argued that it did not have to cover the costs of certain contraceptives for their female employees despite being mandated to do so under the Affordable Care Act because its owners held a religious belief that the contraceptives were abortifacients.
The Satanic Temple agreed to an interview with the Gateway Pundit, which they initiated, but did not respond to questions we asked about how they think this could 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.
The Gateway Pundit also asked about why they chose to wade into the abortion issue when they were previously focused mainly on free speech and separation of church and state, but did not receive a response.
Additionally, Gateway Pundit asked their spokesperson about the people who will say this is an admission that abortion is satanic, and if they expect any push back from the left for giving fodder to the pro life crowd. Once again, the Temple did not respond to this question, despite being the ones to ask us if we would like to interview them.
In a prewritten statement, TST’s “reproductive rights spokesperson” Jane Essex wrote that “many states have laws that interfere with our members’ ability to practice their religious beliefs. No Christian would accept a mandatory waiting period before they can partake in Communion. No Christian would tolerate a law that insists state counseling is necessary before someone can be baptized. Our members are justly entitled to religious liberty in order to practice our rituals as well.”
Essex added that “the law is clearly on our side. If RFRA states do not want to recognize our rights, they will ultimately have to claim that our abortions are not satanic. Given that many people fanatically insist that all abortions are satanic, the states’ argument will be very unpopular. Not only will those who deny Satanists their religious freedom be denounced by defenders of liberty, but they will also be detested by those who demonize abortion. Hopefully, states will do the right thing and respect our legal rights.”
The Gateway Pundit spoke to lawyer Robert Barnes, who has extensive history in constitutional law, about the case.
Barnes told TGP that “their suit will likely fail, as freedom of religion does not extend to licensing abortion.”