Take that, Alito!

The Satanic Temple, the group that seeks to put its monument on state grounds that have allowed things like the Ten Commandments, has said that by virtue of the rights granted to religious organizations by the Hobby Lobby verdict (authored by justice Samuel Alito), it will exempt its own employees from state laws that restrict rights to abortions.

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.

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.

In its opinion, the US Supreme court frequently referred to the ‘sincerely’ held religious beliefs of the corporations. The issue of whether the Satanic Temple is ‘sincere’ is bound to be discussed if this goes further.


  1. Jeff Engel says

    I get the feeling that the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby majority quietly holds that sincere religious beliefs are solely those of mainstream Christian and Jewish sects. I don’t know how they’re going to make that case as a matter of law though, it being barking mad.

  2. Chris J says

    This could be interesting. The goal would be to apply RFRA to ST employees. If you assumed the government had a compelling interest in making the abortion propaganda available to women, you could still argue that there would be a less burdensome method of conveying that message than requiring all women view it.

    Just have it available on request, and inform the patient that it is available (a one-minute process at most).

    According to the majority opinion in Hobby Lobby, the court cannot question the content of the beliefs. If ST believes the abortion propaganda is unscientific, believes people should not be forced to consume unscientific literature when making a decision, and believes being forced to consume unscientific literature is burdensome, the court must accept this. I doubt a court could question sincerity either without opening a huge can of worms.

    Honestly, though, this whole thing just highlights how privileged “religiousness” of any sort is. Why should we live in a world where you have to don the trappings of faith to get special treatment, if there is special treatment to be had at all?

  3. Kate says

    I joked on a thread on FB that we needed to start a Church of Reproductive Rights, and then sue various states, funding organizations, and anti-abortion protestors for infringing upon our religious rights. From my keyboard to Church of Satan’s ears…

    (The best thing: it would be truly, deeply held beliefs of its supporters…)

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