A federal court is rejecting the Satanic Temple’s petition to protect abortion as a religious ritual. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas threw out a complaint earlier this week filed by the Satanic Temple back in 2021 and amended last year after Roe v. Wade was overturned. The complaint argued that pro-life laws in Texas infringed on the religious liberty of practicing Satanists, as abortions (especially first-trimester abortions) are a religious ritual in the Satanic Temple. The court determined that the Satanic Temple doesn’t have standing to file the complaint.
The Satanic Temple filed the initial complaint in 2021 in the wake of Texas’s heartbeat bill, citing a violation of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the Satanic Temple amended its complaint, explicating Texas’ pro-life trigger laws prevent Satanists from practicing abortion “rituals.” Lawyers for the Satanic Temple cited the Temple’s “tenets,” one of which proclaims, “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone,” a variation of the common, “My body, my choice” slogan often used by pro-abortion activists.
“The Satanic Temple considers it a victory when they can undermine sincerely held religious beliefs by pretending their legal complaints based on ‘religious freedom’ are legitimate and deserve the same consideration given to religions like Christianity,” Arielle Del Turco, director at Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, told The Washington Stand. “It’s good to see that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas rejected The Satanic Temple’s lawsuit. People know this is a stunt, and we shouldn’t get caught up in their game.”
The Satanic Temple has long been an advocate of abortion and also filed suits against pro-life laws in Missouri, Idaho, and Indiana. After Roe was overturned, the Temple announced it would open an abortion facility selling abortifacient drugs and named “Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic,” mockingly named after the Catholic Supreme Court Justice who wrote the opinion overturning Roe. On its website, the Satanic Temple states, “Consistent with our tenets that call for bodily autonomy and acting in accordance with best scientific evidence, The Satanic Temple religiously objects to many of the restrictions that states have enacted that interfere with abortion access.”
In 2020, a Satanic Temple spokesperson explained, “We’re objecting to the regulations that are not actually necessary for the abortion and do not offer better outcomes. [It] would be unconstitutional to require a waiting period before receiving Holy Communion. … So we expect the same rights as any other religious organization.” Perhaps somewhat ironically, the Catholic Church itself requires a sort of waiting period before receiving Holy Communion, demanding that Catholic confess their sins and receive absolution before presenting themselves to receive Communion.
Del Turco summarized the situation by noting, “[P]rogressive ideologues self-identifying as Satanists are literally going to court to defend abortion not on a scientific basis, but by claiming abortion is one of their religious ‘rituals.’ And while this is gross and shocking enough to make headlines, it just confirms what Christians have always known — that the religious fervor demonstrated by pro-abortion activists is not just political, it’s spiritual.”
No court judgment has yet been issued addressing the Satanic Temple’s lawsuits in Missouri, Idaho, and Indiana. The dismissal in Texas does not take into account the merits of the case, only the lack of standing of the plaintiff identified as “Jane Doe.”
S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.
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