The Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, handed down June 30 by the U.S. Supreme Court, gives women the right to refuse to follow the “informed consent” laws if those laws place a “burden” on their religious beliefs, says the Satanic Temple. And if those women belong to the Brooklyn, New York-based Satanist organization, then those laws, imposed in 35 states, definitely place a burden on their religious beliefs.
“Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our beliefs are based on 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,” the Satanic Temple said in a statement.
Now the self-styled Satanist group — which has been called “the nicest Satanic cult in the world” — is offering women a downloadable form letter to present to doctors, which the group says exempts them from being forced to read anti-abortion literature prior to receiving a procedure to terminate pregnancy.
The letter can be accessed at this link.
So-called “informed consent” laws require women to familiarize themselves with various arguments against abortion, arguments which are rarely based on credible scientific research.
In South Dakota, for example, women are legally required to read a long-debunked study claiming that women who have abortions at a higher risk of committing suicide, and experiencing other mental health problems.
“The Satanic Temple, calling such material ‘political’ rather than ‘scientific’ offers women a letter for their doctors stating. I regard Political Information as a state sanctioned attempt to discourage abortion by compelling my consideration of the current and future condition of my fetal or embryonic tissue separate and apart from my body. I do not regard Political Information to be scientifically true or accurate or even relevant to my medical decisions. The communication of Political Information to me imposes an unwanted and substantial burden on my religious beliefs.”
The Satanic Temple states its religious belief on its online site, saying, “personal decisions should be made with reference to only the best available, scientifically valid information.”
Last year, the Satanic Temple made news by holding a “pink mass,” in which an official of the temple performed a same-sex wedding at the grave of the mother of Fred Phelps, then-leader of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, declaring that because of the “mass,” the elder Mrs. Phelps had now become a lesbian, after her death.
The Satanic Temple last year also rallied in support of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s effort to establish a right of prayer in school, saying that the group supported the right of school children to worship Satan on school grounds.
Whether a court would uphold using the Hobby Lobby decision to oppose restrictions on abortion remains an open question, but if anyone takes the Satanic Temple up on its offer, judges may get an opportunity to figure it out.