Satanic Temple declares abortion “a spiritually comforting religious ritual”
The Satanic Temple launched its Religious Reproductive Rights campaign this Wednesday, declaring abortion as a "sacred religious ritual" in an attempt to circumvent state regulations on abortion by exerting religious freedom protections.
In a video posted on YouTube as part of its campaign, the Satanic Temple, which is now recognised by the IRS as a religious organisation, explains how it plans to use state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in their favour so women seeking abortions can forego counseling, avoid seeing the sonogram image of their baby or hearing its heartbeat, and refuse to have their baby’s remains cremated or buried.
The video begins by stating that the U.S. Religious Freedom Restoration Act “generally prohibits the government from interfering with a person’s free exercise of religion,” including “the performance of religious rituals.” The Satanic Temple proclaims that its religious rituals include abortion, which it says “provides spiritual comfort and affirms bodily autonomy and self-worth.”
Jane Essex, the spokesperson for the Satanic Temple’s Religious Reproductive Rights Campaign, addressed questions, first answering how “existing regulations” interfere with the satanic abortion ritual. Essex listed “mandatory counselling, being forced to listen to fetal heartbeats (and) waiting periods before you can even have the abortion” as examples of regulations that she claims “serve no medical purpose.”
“All these obstacles violate deeply held beliefs and this disrupts the practice of our rituals,” Essex said, arguing that the Satanic Temple’s abortion ritual is comparable to rituals practiced by billions of adherents to major religions.
“It would be unconstitutional to require a waiting period before receiving Holy Communion; it would be illegal to demand Muslims receive counseling prior to Ramadan,” she argued. “We expect the same rights as any other religious organisation.”
Essex explained that to circumvent state regulations on abortion, the Satanic Temple has put together a letter women can take with them to the abortion clinic that states their demands to forego counselling, having a sonogram, hearing the baby’s heartbeat, and includes a refusal to have their baby’s remains cremated or buried. Doing any of the aforementioned, according to the letter, would “interfere” with their religious beliefs and practices.