The Satanic Temple cited the recent Hobby Lobby ruling while launching a campaign to seek religious exemption from certain anti-abortion laws so women do not feel dissuaded from ending a pregnancy if they wish to do so. The organization claims that it believes in scientific accuracy and bodily autonomy and that state-level laws based on misleading information about abortion risks violate its beliefs.
The Satanists noted that the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of Hobby Lobby has only strengthened their own fight to opt out of laws related to women’s healthcare that happen to violate their religious liberty.
“Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs and the fact that our beliefs are based on the 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,” a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement.
Many of the state-level abortion laws are, in fact, considered unscientific and their prevalence has irked not only medical professionals but also those who are not particularly religious and think rationally. Informed consent laws, which currently exist in 35 states, typically require women to undergo biased counseling sessions before they can make up their minds about abortion. In addition, most of these laws require medical professionals to share with their patients misleading information about the potential risks of abortion, often linking the procedure to mental instability and breast cancer, for instance.
Members of the Satanic Temple have been urging its own women as well as others who share their beliefs to seek individual exemptions from informed consent laws, even if they do not necessarily identify as Satanists. The organization has drafted a sample letter to which women can refer while consulting their doctors about abortion and also launched a line of t-shirts that stress the Right to Accurate Medical Information.
The Satanic Temple has a set of seven tenets that are similar to humanism and the organization often speaks up about issues where church and state tend to overlap. It says its primary aim is to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.”
The Satanic Temple is not the only group to be fighting against medical disinformation used to justify anti-abortion laws. Center for Inquiry, a secular humanist group, recently started a campaign called Keep Health Care Safe and Secular to encourage more Americans to oppose state laws that fundamentally limit women’s access to health services.