The Satanic Temple has started a “campaign” — whatever that is — to demand a religious exemption from state laws that require women seeking abortions be given certain information before being able to get one. A noble cause, to be sure, but this “campaign” does nothing remotely useful. You can see their announcement here.
It’s not at all clear what this “campaign” actually does. They cite the Hobby Lobby ruling as supporting it:
Informed consent bills requiring abortion providers to give their patients official “informational”
material regarding the procedure have been criticized in the past for providing biased and false information to women in a bald effort at dissuading them from abortions. Such materials have included claims of a link between abortion and breast cancer, as well as claims regarding a depressive “post abortion syndrome”, both of which The Satanic Temple view as “scientifically unfounded” and “medically invalid” and therefore an affront to their religious beliefs.
While The Satanic Temple (TST) are not the first organization to criticize the state mandated abortion materials as false and/or biased, they are the first to offer an exemption from such materials on religious grounds. TST spokesperson, Lucien Greaves, points out that the controversial Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their cause: “While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, 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, when in fact they are not. Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our 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.”
Greaves explains the process by which this exemption is offered: “We have drawn up a letter for women who are considering an abortion. The letter explains our position and puts the care provider on notice that a failure to respect our call for an exemption from state mandated informed consent materials constitutes a violation of our religious liberty. Interested parties can read more at www.thesatanictemple.com/medicalinfo.” “All women who share our deeply held belief that all 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. We merely contend that we are in a unique position to argue the merits of this belief, as it is fundamental to our religious philosophy.”
I certainly agree with the goal. These state-mandated rules are ridiculous and sexist and should be done away with. But will this particular action do any good? No. First of all, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the law that the Hobby Lobby ruling was based on that gave them the opportunity to ask for a religious exemption, does not apply to state law. If someone actually tried to assert such an exemption from a state law, the case would be dismissed immediately. This just looks like a group looking for publicity, just like its idiotic “pink mass” over the grave of Fred Phelps’ mother a while back.
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