The Satanic Temple has launched a campaign seeking religious exemption from laws that restrict access to abortions, citing the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.
The group, which “facilitates the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty,” argues that states’ “informed consent” laws violate its religious freedom.
“An increasing number of states have passed ‘informed consent’ laws, requiring that women seeking abortions be subjected to state-mandated informational materials that are often false or misleading,” the group wrote on its website. “We believe that personal decisions should be made with reference to only the best available, scientifically valid information.”
Lucien Greaves, a spokesperson for the group, said that the Hobby Lobby ruling supports their initiative.
“While we feel we have a strong case for exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact,” Greaves said in a statement. “Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state mandated ‘informational’ material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them.”
The group drafted a letter for all women who agree with their stance on this issue, even if they are not members of the Satanic Temple, to give to their doctors asking to be exempt from state-mandated materials on abortions.
Thirty-five states have enacted informed consent laws that require women receive counseling before an abortion, and 27 of these states detail what information doctors should give to patients, according to the Guttmacher Institute.