The Satanic Temple is trying to fight the new abortion laws in Texas by arguing that it violates their “religious freedom” to “abortion rituals.”
Lucien Greaves, the Temple’s spokesman and cofounder, argued in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration that access to abortion drugs Misoprostol and Mifepristone must be allowed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to be used for their “Abortion Rituals.”
“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,” Greaves wrote in the letter.
The Satanic Temple spokesman went on to say that “the battle for abortion rights is largely a battle of competing religious viewpoints, and our viewpoint that the nonviable fetus is part of the impregnated host is fortunately protected under Religious Liberty laws.”
The temple previously attempted to use religious freedom to fight abortion laws in Missouri, but failed.
In a press release sent to the Gateway Pundit by a spokesperson last year, 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.”
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.