The Satanic Temple is lashing out against a new Texas rule that requires aborted babies’ bodies to be cremated or buried.
The Satanist group, which has challenged abortion regulations in a number of states, claims the new regulation violates its members’ religious beliefs, and they will not follow it, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The new rule, introduced in July by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, requires that abortion facilities, hospitals and other medical centers either cremate or bury the remains of aborted and miscarried babies. State officials said the rule does not apply to miscarriages or abortions that take place at home.
The commission finalized the rule in late November. It is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 19.
Abortion activists have been protesting the rule, claiming that it will create additional expenses and other burdens for abortion facilities. They also claim the rule is nothing more than pro-life legislators’ attempt to end abortions.
The Satanic Temple’s objections to the new rules are based on what they claim are religious grounds.
“The Satanic Temple believes burial rites are a well-established component of religious practice. This is undisputed in the entirety of US legal history,” the group said in a statement on its website.
“The First Amendment protects our right to practice our beliefs, and under the Religious Freedom Reform Act (RFRA), the State must present a compelling reason for why they want to enforce rules that inhibit adherence to our religious practices,” the group continued.
“Clearly, the State of Texas has no compelling reason because these rules were not enacted to promote health and safety, but rather to harass and burden women who terminate their pregnancies,” the group said.
The Satanic Temple said its members should not be required to comply with the rule, and it mentioned the possibility of taking legal action.
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During a commission hearing in August, supporters said the rules are necessary because abortion facilities treat unborn babies’ bodies like garbage and sometimes dump them down public sewer drains, Fox 7 reported. Texas state Rep. Mark Keough mentioned a gruesome case in 2005 when a woman who worked near a Houston abortion facility saw tiny aborted babies’ limbs and other body parts in a parking lot when a sewer line broke.
Previously, abortion facilities could dispose of aborted babies’ bodies in landfills or give them to research groups.
More states are moving to require dignified burials of aborted babies’ bodies after undercover videos revealed evidence that Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities may be selling aborted babies’ body parts. The Center for Medical Progress videos prompted a number of states and the U.S. House to open investigations into the matter.
In Ohio, the state attorney general’s investigation found that Planned Parenthood was “steam cooking” aborted babies’ bodies before dumping them in landfills. A state investigation in South Carolina also caught Planned Parenthood facilities illegally dumping aborted babies’ bodies in public landfills, and fined them for it.
Aborted babies’ bodies should not be “treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said previously. “… it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life.”