Satanic Temple set to challenge Texas abortion law on freedom of religion grounds

Southwest

The Satanic Temple unveils its statue of Baphomet, a winged-goat creature, at a rally for the first amendment in Little Rock, Ark., Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. The Satanic Temple wants to install the statue on Capitol grounds as a symbol for religious freedom after a monument of the Biblical Ten Commandments was installed in 2017. (AP Photo/Hannah Grabenstein)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas’ controversial fetal heartbeat bill may have many fans among some religious communities — but the Satanic Temple isn’t among them.

The religion, which does not have or believe in gods, filed a letter with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to request its members have access to abortion pills on the grounds of freedom of religion, Fortune reports.

This comes as the state of Texas passed the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws this past week. Under Senate Bill 8, abortions after six weeks of pregnancy are banned. The legislation was met with national and international controversy, as many people may not even realize they’re pregnant during the six-week period.

“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,” said Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves in a statement.

The Temple, which is based in Salem, Massachusetts, says its members hold bodily autonomy sacred. Additionally, Greaves said “abortion rituals” are an important facet of its beliefs. The Temple has frequently advocated for equality among religions, previously temporarily installing a statue of the winged goat-headed creature Baphomet at the Arkansas State Capitol — alongside a monument of the Ten Commandments.

Fortune reports the Satanic Temple hopes to retain access to abortion pills using its Religious Freedom Restoration Act rights. Through the act, Native American populations are allowed to access the hallucinogenic peyote for their practices.

The Texas legislation made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, after a group of Texas abortion clinics and advocates requested the law be blocked. The Supreme Court ultimately allowed the law to stand, but the court could take up the law again in the immediate future.

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