The Satanic Temple is teaming up with abortion advocates to condemn the new Texas abortion law that criminalizes the termination of pregnancy once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The group claims that its members qualify for an exemption to the Heartbeat Act or S.B. 8 as a faith-based organization and that they should be allowed to take medication that induces abortion within 24 weeks of pregnancy because it is their religious right to do so.
"TST stands ready to assist any member who shares our deeply-held religious convictions regarding the right to reproductive freedom," the Satanic Temple took to Twitter to share on Saturday.
"SB8 does not allow for lawsuits or enforcement of penalties against a woman seeking an abortion. Instead, SB8 is cynically designed to avoid judicial review of the law and creates enforcement mechanisms against TST and its lawyers who dare challenge the law."
"We will not be cowed into silence by an unjust law or a tyrannical state government," the Satanic Temple stated.
S.B. 8 or the Heartbeat Act is a new Texas abortion law that was signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in May, which took effect on September 1, causing many women to flood abortion clinics for last minute appointments.
Under the new law, abortions are prohibited past the sixth week mark, but many argue that this very short period is a time during which most women are still unaware of their pregnancy. The Supreme Court refused to grant a motion to block the new Texas abortion law, causing it to take effect on September 1.
Now, abortion groups, as well as the Satanists are fighting to abolish the law or claim religious exemption from it. According to the Boston Globe, the Satanic Temple, which is an official, tax-exempt religion, even filed a letter with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking to allow its members in Texas access to abortion medications such as mifepristone and misoprostol without being penalized by the law.
The Satanist group that was founded in 2013 is not affiliated with the Church of Satan and claims that it is "resolutely non-theistic" and does not endorse supernatural (or "supernormal") explanations." Their mission is "to encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits."
According to Faithwire, the Satanists has taken legal acton against the state of Texas to defend its members' "relgious rights," which includes terminating a pregnancy as part of a "religious abortion ritual" that is "a ceremony rooted in our deeply held beliefs."
The Satanic Temple argued on their website that abortion is a "way to fortify self-worth, instill confidence, and provide spiritual comfort" and that the "Satanic abortion ritual" is "protected by religious liberty laws." They are seeking exemption from "any medically unnecessary and unscientific requirement" that hinders their practice of the abortion ritual.
The Satanic Temple co-founder and spokesman Lucien Greaves said in a statement, "The battle for abortion rights is largely a battle of competing religious viewpoints, and our viewpoint that the nonviable fetus is part of the impregnated host is fortunately protected under Religious Liberty."