In a statement, the Satanic Temple said that it will use the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision to exempt its believers from state-mandated informed consent laws that require women considering abortions to read pro-life material.
Informed consent or “right to know” laws state that women seeking elective abortions be provided with information about alternatives to the procedure, often couched in language that attempts to personify the fetus. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 states currently have informed consent laws, and of those, 33 require that the woman be told the gestational age of the fetus.
In some states, that information consists of pro-life propaganda that links abortion to a higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancers, or discusses “post-abortion syndrome,” a mental condition not recognized by any major medical or psychiatric organization.
Because the Satanic Temple bases its belief “regarding personal health…on the best scientific understanding of the world, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others,” it claims that state-mandated information with no basis in scientific fact violates its “religious” beliefs.
Spokesperson Lucien Greaves said that the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision bolsters their case. “While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling,” he said, “the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when they allowed Hobby Lobby to claim certain contraceptives were abortifacients, which in fact they are not.”
The Satanic Temple set up a website where women seeking an abortion can print out a letter for her healthcare provider explaining why she is exempt from informed consent mandates.
The letter reads that “[a]ll women who share our deeply held belief that their personal choices should be made with access to the best available information, undiluted by biased or false information, are free to seek protection with this exemption whether they are members of the Satanic Temple or not.”
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