Satanic Temple Claims Religious Exemption to Abortion Bans

The ruling issued by the Supreme Court on Friday in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that reverses Roe v. Wade does not mean that abortion is outlawed everywhere in the country, but returns the decision on allowing, regulating, or banning the practice to individual states. Several have already enacted laws triggered by the end of Roe that prohibit the taking of unborn life.

One notorious group is already claiming to be exempt from any of the state laws in place or that might be passed prohibiting abortions. The Satanic Temple issued a press release shortly after the Dobbs ruling was released, insisting that it has a “religious exemption” to any abortion bans.

The group said that since it has been recognized by the IRS as a “religion,” its treatment of abortion as a “religious ritual” means the procedure must be allowed no matter what state laws provide.

The statement went on to say that the group would take legal action if necessary to “ensure our members do not have to endure hindrances to access.” It said that TST considers waiting periods and legal requirements that fetal remains be buried or cremated to be among the “hindrances” it would not tolerate. It claims its religious status makes it exempt from rules regarding the handling of remains.

The group also said it will demand that any state that requires mandatory abortion counseling be forced to accept the TST’s own “counseling” as a valid alternative.

The Satanic Temple claims that it is protected by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which orders federal and state governments to operate in a way that is least burdensome to religious practices.

The Satanist organization said that it will bring lawsuits against states that contradict their “civil rights,” and added its belief that “the law is clearly on our side.” It also said that it plans to sue the federal Food and Drug Administration to compel unrestricted access to abortion drugs anywhere.

The group went so far as to add that it is looking into the prospect of establishing its own private “religious abortion facilities.” In 2020, TST claimed that “killing an unborn baby in an abortion is a religious ritual similar to communion or baptism for Christians.”