Texas’s Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed a new abortion ban into law on Wednesday. While some Texans are calling the law a milestone in pro-life legislation, others say that it’s too extreme. The law, initially proposed by State Sen. Bryan Hughes, bans abortions six weeks into pregnancy, making it one of many “heartbeat laws” introduced over the past several years, and it’s sent to go into effect on September 1.
Those who oppose the law’s passage have already started taking steps in suing the state and fighting the bill in court. This includes the state’s own Satanic Temple. The Temple has filed suit against the state claiming that the new abortion restrictions violate the religious beliefs of its members.
On behalf of TST member “Ann Doe,” TST is suing the state of Texas for imposing medically unnecessary abortion regulations including a sonogram, a forced decision to reject the ‘opportunity’ of seeing the sonogram results, the forced listening to a narrative of the sonogram results, and a mandatory waiting period between the sonogram and the abortion.
Ann Doe performed the Temple’s abortion ritual, which is a ceremonial affirmation of bodily-autonomy and self-worth that integrates the abortion process. Before filing suit, the Temple’s attorney sent a letter to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, demanding an exemption on behalf of Ann Doe:
“The abortion ritual (1) requires an abortion; and (2) affirms her religious subscription to TST’s Third and Fifth Tenets. But before Ms. Doe can get her abortion–and therefore participate in the abortion ritual–the government has required that she get a sonogram… [ These ] requirements substantially interfere with Ms. Doe’s religious beliefs and practices for two reasons. First, the requirements are a precondition to Ms. Doe’s ability to participate in a religious ceremony. It is a substantial interference per se for the state to place a regulatory hurdle–one that costs money–in front of a religious exercise. The state might as well tax and regulate Mass.”
The Temple’s website outlines their case in brief, and even asks for a donation (if you’re so inclined). If not, nothing is stopping you from calling, texting, emailing, or just sending good old snail mail to Mr. Abbott.