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Satanic Temple launches legal challenge to Texas abortion law

The group cited religious freedoms, saying its members should be exempt from the law.

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas law that bans abortions after around six weeks into pregnancy is facing new legal action from Satanists.

The Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple has filed a letter with the Food and Drug Administration ostensibly in the name of religious freedom, arguing abortion is a faith-based right of its members.

The letter also addresses another Texas law awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature that will limit women’s access to abortion pills against FDA guidelines.

The Satanic Temple argues its members should have access to the pills under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the same law that allows Native Americans to access peyote for use in rituals. SB 8 “imposes an undue burden on the ability of TST members to undergo the Satanic Abortion Ritual” within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, the group said.

“I am sure Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton – who famously spends a good deal of his time composing press releases about religious liberty issues in other states – will be proud to see that Texas’s robust religious liberty laws, which he so vociferously champions, will prevent future Abortion Rituals from being interrupted by superfluous government restrictions meant only to shame and harass those seeking an abortion,” Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves said in a statement.

Greaves told Fortune his group holds bodily autonomy and science sacrosanct, with abortion an important part of the group’s beliefs.

“The battle for abortion rights is largely a battle of competing religious viewpoints, and our viewpoint that the nonviable fetus is part of the impregnated host is fortunately protected under Religious Liberty laws,” he said.

   

The new Texas law, one of 666 new laws that went into effect on Sept. 1, is the most restrictive in the country.

The only exception is for a woman having a medical emergency that threatens her life. Survivors of rape or incest don't qualify.

Rather than creating a criminal penalty, the law is enforced through civil lawsuits. Anyone other than the person who impregnates a woman through rape or incest can sue the person or people who perform, attempts to perform or helps a woman get an abortion.

The Satanic Temple is a non-theistic religion, which means its members don’t believe in a devil or the supernatural, but instead use the image of Satan to symbolize resistance against tyranny.

Despite its name, it largely functions as an activist group fighting against religious-based policy in U.S. law.

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