Satanists attempt to skirt abortion law using Hobby Lobby as precedent

The Satanic Temple seeks religious exemption from informed consent law.

Published 05 August 2014  |  

(AP)

The Satanic Temple is seeking a religious exemption for its members in regards to informed consent procedures before abortions.

The organisation cites the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case as precedence for an exclusion from a law it deems religiously offensive.

Current informed consent laws require health care workers to distribute information packets to women before an abortion can take place. The language varies by state, but most describe the abortion procedure, potential complications, and alternatives to abortions.

Some states have been criticised for including language that is critical of the abortion procedure, describing the fetus as a human being, and other acts that some perceive as dissuading a woman from proceeding with the abortion.

The Satanic Temple criticised these informed consent laws as biased and offensive.

"Such [informed consent] materials have included claims of a link between abortion and breast cancer, as well as claims regarding a depressive 'post­abortion syndrome,' both of which The Satanic Temple view as 'scientifically unfounded' and 'medically invalid' and therefore an affront to their religious beliefs," they wrote in a press release.

The satanic group intends to exempt its members from informed consent procedures in the first of many "Women's Health initiatives."

"We have drawn up a letter for women who are considering an abortion," they said. "The letter explains our position and puts the care provider on notice that a failure to respect our call for an exemption from state­mandated informed consent materials constitutes a violation of our religious liberty."

The New York organisation said the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court victory gives credence to their cause.

The Christian retail chain was at the centre of a Supreme Court decision last month that allowed closely-held companies to deny morning-after pill and IUD health insurance coverage to their employees, based on religious grounds. Hobby Lobby maintained that the birth control methods were "abortifacients", or drugs that cause abortions. The Satanic Temple called that assertion false.

"The Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact," spokesperson Lucien Greaves said.

"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 state­mandated 'informational' material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them."

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