The Satanic Temple, which has started a campaign for a religious exemption from certain anti-abortion laws, said that while legal action isn’t planned, the group may file lawsuits if doctors fail to comply with the exemption forms they drafted, a member of the group told Salon.
The group argues that “informed consent” laws, which require doctors to give women seeking an abortion state-mandated information on the procedure, violate their belief that “personal decisions should be made with reference to only the best available, scientifically valid information.” The group cited the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, which allows closely held businesses to opt out of paying for contraception if they have religious objections, to support their campaign.
The Satanic Temple has drafted letters that women can bring to doctors to demand that they be exempt from viewing the material.
Jex Blackmore, a minister at the Satanic Temple, told Salon that these letters may lead to legal action.
“In terms of the exemption form we’ve created, we’re not looking to proactively sue to have informed consent laws repealed. However, we will definitely follow up with a legal suit if those exemption forms fail to be recognized,” she said. “We’re certainly not trying to force anyone to use it if they don’t feel comfortable or don’t agree with it, but we’d like to put it out there to make sure that people are respected. That they aren’t forced to review or view state-mandated information that is largely biased.”
Blackmore said that the group wants to assert that religious freedom encompasses a wide variety of beliefs, and that they all should be respected, especially when it comes to women’s health.
“It’s been very obvious to us that there is a dominant voice that is rooted in religion. That is especially true for women’s rights being impacted by certain religious beliefs. That’s part of what the controversy is then, because people feel their belief systems are not being respected,” she said. “I think that is a very straightforward approach. To say, ‘We have these rights as well. They may not be your beliefs, but we demand legal respect to adhere to our practices.'”