The Satanic Temple filed lawsuits in federal court against Idaho and Indiana last month over near-total abortion bans in both states, citing a list of accusations surrounding religious rights blocking a woman’s right to engage in the “Satanic Abortion Ritual.”
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs decision, James Mac Naughton, an attorney representing the temple, told Axios that the historic reversal that returned abortion access to the states has “woken a sleeping giant among women politically and have stirred up a hornets’ nest of legal issues.”
“Gorsuch, you want a national debate on abortion? Congratulations, you have one,” Mac Naughton added.
Fox News reports that satanic abortion rituals were introduced to argue for a religious exception under the 1993 federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits states from infringing on anyone’s religion without demonstrating a compelling interest.
According to The Hill, the ritual is a process where a person is reminded that their body is inviolate. After the abortion, the woman then recites a personal affirmation.
According to the complaint, the Salem, Massachusetts-based group claims more than 1.5 million Satanic Temple members worldwide — including approximately 11,300 in Indiana and 3,500 in Idaho — which writes that it advocates on behalf of female members “who are involuntarily pregnant,” WCVB reports.
“All of the Involuntarily Pregnant Women who are TST members believe the fetal tissue they carry in their uterus — from conception until viability — is part of their body and not imbued with any humanity or existence separate and apart from that of the Involuntarily Pregnant Woman herself,” the temple wrote in both lawsuits.
Using the 13th Amendment’s prohibition of involuntary servitude, the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and the takings clause in the 5th Amendment, which prohibits “private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” the temple has sought an injunction against the states’ abortion bans.
Indiana passed a law banning abortion in most instances with exceptions in the case of fatal fetal anomalies, serious health risks to the mother, or cases of rape and incest following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs Decision.
A spokesperson for the office of Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who is listed as a defendant, said in a statement last week, according to the Indy Star, that the Supreme Court decided earlier this year that the U.S. Constitution does not protect abortion.
“This new lawsuit merely offers weaker arguments for the same discredited right,” the spokesperson said.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is also listed as a defendant.
Idaho recently passed a similar law banning abortion, which states that anyone who performs an abortion of a clinically diagnosable pregnancy is guilty of a felony unless the abortion is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or in the case of rape or incest.
According to multiple media outlets, the Idaho Attorney General’s office did not comment on the lawsuit.
Scott Graf, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, told KTVB it has a policy against commenting on pending litigation.