Satanic Temple Challenges Texas Abortion Ban: It Violates Our Religious Right to Perform “Abortion Rituals”

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 13, 2021   |   3:34PM   |   Austin, Texas

The Satanic Temple plans to ask a judge this week to block the Texas heartbeat law, claiming it violates its members’ religious freedom to abort their unborn babies.

The group believes that killing an unborn baby in an abortion is a “religious ritual.” Last year, it even raffled off a free abortion to raise money for its pro-abortion work.

Now, it wants a judge to give its members an exemption from the Texas law, according to a press release.

“SB8’s ban on abortions after six weeks infringes upon our members’ rights to engage with their chosen religion and to participate in religious rites and rituals,” said Erin Helian, director of campaign operations for the group. “In accordance with our Third Tenet, The Satanic Temple will push back against the Texas legislature’s violation of our members’ bodily autonomy and freedom of choice.”

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The heartbeat law, Senate Bill 8, prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Since it went into effect Sept. 1, pro-life leaders estimate thousands of unborn babies have been saved from abortions.

According to the group’s lawsuit, the legislation violates religious freedom protections under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Texas and U.S. constitutions. It also contends that “First Amendment ‘conduct,’ including TST’s religious abortion ritual, is not permitted to be the target of civil actions” such as the private lawsuits that the Texas law allows.

Texas Right to Life president Elizabeth Graham responded with disgust to the notion that killing an unborn baby is a religious practice.

“When you think of ugliness that makes your skin crawl, Satanic abortion rituals are almost unimaginable,” Graham said. “Satan has always demanded the shedding of innocent blood. This child-sacrifice continues today despite laws that safeguard preborn children.”

Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups also are suing to block the Texas law. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to temporarily block it last week; however, their lawsuit continues.

For years, the Satanic Temple has been suing to challenge pro-life laws in various states, but so far, all of its lawsuits have failed. In 2020, a federal appeals court rejected its attempt at challenging a Missouri informed consent law. In 2019, the Missouri Supreme Court dismissed another one of the Satanic Temple’s lawsuits.

But every time it loses, it tries again with a new approach. Its plan is to challenge pro-life laws based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which ensures the government does not unnecessarily interfere with people’s religious freedom.

The Satanic Temple is heavily involved in abortion activism in the U.S. Breitbart once described its work as a “pro-abortion crusade to come to the aid of America’s largest abortion provider,” Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, pro-life advocates are reaching out to pregnant women across Texas with compassion and understanding, offering resources and emotional support to help them and their babies. Earlier this year, state lawmakers increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babiesensuring that they have resources to choose life for their babies.

Women may call or text 1-800-712-4357 or chat online with OptionLine, a 24-hour bilingual hotline run by Heartbeat International that has helped connect millions of women to pregnancy and parenting resources.