NRL News

Satanic Temple’s challenge to Texas Abortion Law rejected

by | Jul 6, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

Mary Anne Pazanowski, Legal Reporter for Bloomberg Law, put it succinctly: “Satanic Temple Bounced From Texas Abortion Law Challenge.”

This week the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas rejected its lawsuit, according to Bloomberg Law. The court described the lawsuit as cryptic and noted the lack of basic facts about plaintiff “Ann Doe’s” standing to sue.

Specifically, the court said the Satanic Temple’s complaint “was too spare and cryptic to support its standing to sue Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Cecile Young or overcome her sovereign immunity on its claims for violations of the First Amendment’s free speech, free exercise, and establishment clauses,” Pazanowski wrote.

The lawsuit amended an earlier version that “challenged state informed consent laws, including a waiting period requirement and another requiring that a pregnant mother be given the opportunity to hear her unborn baby’s heartbeat and see the child’s image on an ultrasound,” according to Micaiah Bilger.

Then, in December, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Texas began enforcing its abortion ban, the satanic group filed an amended complaint arguing that the laws prohibit its members from performing abortion “rituals,” The Texan reports

“SB 8’s ban on abortions after six weeks infringes upon our members’ rights to engage with their chosen religion and to participate in religious rites and rituals,” the Satanic Temple’s Director of Campaign Operations, Erin Helian, claimed in a statement when they filed the amended lawsuit. “In accordance with our Third Tenet, The Satanic Temple will push back against the Texas legislature’s violation of our members’ bodily autonomy and freedom of choice.”

The Satanic Temple “initially filed the lawsuit in 2021 against Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Cecile Young based on religious freedom and free speech grounds,” Bilger reported.

For years, the Satanic Temple has been suing to challenge pro-life laws in various states, but so far, all of its lawsuits have failed. In 2020, a federal appeals court rejected its attempt at challenging a Missouri informed consent law. In 2019, the Missouri Supreme Court dismissed another one of the Satanic Temple’s lawsuits.

But every time it loses, it tries again with a new approach. Its plan is to challenge pro-life laws based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which ensures the government does not unnecessarily interfere with people’s religious freedom.

The Satanic Temple is heavily involved in abortion activism in the U.S. Breitbart once described its work as a “pro-abortion crusade to come to the aid of America’s largest abortion provider,” Planned Parenthood.

Categories: Judicial