The Satanic Temple (TST) is challenging a Texas law that bans most abortions after a heartbeat can be detected in the unborn child.
The Satanists argue that the law restricts their right to free religious practice, referring to abortions as a “religious abortion ritual” and “a ceremony rooted in our deeply-held beliefs” on the TST website.
“This ritual may be performed by our members as a way to fortify self-worth, instill confidence, and provide spiritual comfort,” the TST website adds. “The performance of the Satanic abortion ritual is protected by religious liberty laws. It exempts Satanists from fulfilling any medically unnecessary and unscientific requirement, such as mandatory waiting periods or unwanted sonograms, that interferes with the practice of our ritual.”
On Thursday, TST announced that it was taking “legal action” in Texas to defend its members’ “religious rights.”
“Abortion laws in TX violate our religious rights and TST has taken legal action. If TX judges abide by the Constitution and legal precedent, then those who share our deeply held beliefs will be exempt from the state’s inappropriate efforts to restrict access to abortion services,” TST said in a statement.
A day later, TST sent out a message to its Texas followers encouraging them to seek out an illegal abortion “within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.” TST promised to support anyone accused of violating Texas’ “heartbeat” law, known as SB8.
“TST stands ready to assist any member who shares our deeply-held religious convictions regarding the right to reproductive freedom. Accordingly, we encourage any member who resides in TX and wishes to undergo the Satanic Abortion Ritual within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy to contact The Satanic Temple so we may help them fight this law directly,” TST said. “SB8 does not allow for lawsuits or enforcement of penalties against a woman seeking an abortion. Instead, SB8 is cynically designed to avoid judicial review of the law and creates enforcement mechanisms against TST and its lawyers who dare challenge the law. We will not be cowed into silence by an unjust law or a tyrannical state government.”
[TBC: Contrast this “ritual” with what Christ promised in John:10:10: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.]