Oct 3, 2022 - Politics

Satanic Temple goes after abortion bans

A statue of Baphomet, the goat-headed diety, at the Satanic Temple in Salem.

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The Salem-based Satanic Temple is suing Indiana and Idaho in federal court over their abortion bans, arguing they violate the religious rights of people in those states.

Driving the news: The Satanic Temple filed its complaint against Idaho on Friday, a week after filing a similar one in Indiana.

  • Both states have conservative governors who support near-total abortion bans.
  • Meanwhile, the temple's home state of Massachusetts restricts abortions after 24 weeks with some exceptions.

Why it matters: The temple is one of several organizations suing to block state laws that almost entirely ban abortions.

  • The temple, a nontheistic religious group that often gets confused for the Church of Satan, has used religious freedom arguments in a similar lawsuit challenging Texas' abortion ban earlier this year.

The other side: A spokesperson for Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita told the Indianapolis Star the U.S. Supreme Court decided abortion isn't protected under the Constitution. "This new lawsuit merely offers weaker arguments for the same discredited right," the spokesperson said.

Details: In latest lawsuits, the temple argued each state's ban violates the rights of people who took contraceptives and still became pregnant, denying the right of an "involuntarily pregnant woman" to engage in the "Satanic Abortion Ritual."

  • The temple's ritual includes the tenet, "One's body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone."

The temple accused the states of violating the 13th Amendment, discriminating against impregnated contraceptive users and the states' own religion protections.

  • The temple also accused the states of unconstitutionally "taking the property of involuntarily pregnant women" (i.e. their bodies) without just compensation, noting that people get paid thousands of dollars to be surrogates, per court documents.

What they're saying: Supporters of the Dobbs decision, which effectively struck down Roe v. Wade, "have woken a sleeping giant among women politically and have stirred up a hornets' nest of legal issues," James Mac Naughton, an attorney representing the temple, tells Axios. "(Supreme Court Justice Neil) Gorsuch, you want a national debate on abortion? Congratulations, you have one."

Of note: The Satanic Temple has launched various political actions and lawsuits over the separation of church and state.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show the Satanic Temple's lawsuit seeking the right to give an invocation before city council meetings continues to be ongoing.


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