Just one month ago, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held corporation-people can opt out of following laws that they find incompatible with their "sincerely held religious beliefs." But what if you are a person whose sincerely held religious beliefs include "not being made to entertain political garbage-nonsense as though it were scientific fact"? Aren't you technically covered by the same SCOTUS decision?
The Satanic Temple certainly hopes so. In a statement released today, the Temple announced that its believers should be exempt from state-mandated "informed consent" laws that require women seeking abortions to receive mandatory counseling before making their decision. As Guttmacher Institute notes, 35 states currently require that a woman receive some sort of counseling before an abortion is performed. But, obviously, the information dispensed during counseling isn't neutral, nor is it necessarily factual — as Scott Kaufman points out at Raw Story, "In some states, that information consists of pro-life propaganda that links abortion to a higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancers, or discusses 'post-abortion syndrome,' a mental condition not recognized by any major medical or psychiatric organization."
One of the central tenants of the Satanic faith is that "the body is inviolable — subject to one's own will alone." Furthermore, according to the Satanic Temple website, "We strive to make all decisions regarding personal health based on the scientific understanding of the world, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of other." For these reasons, listening to biased, fallacious and politically-motivated information about abortion would constitute as a violation of their religious beliefs.
The organization has very kindly drafted a form letter for any woman who "shares these deeply held beliefs" so that she may print it out and present it to her abortion provider. It reads, in part:
I regard any information required by state statute to be communicated or offered to me as a precondition for an abortion (separate and apart from any other medical procedure) is based on politics and not science ("Political Information"). I regard Political Information as a state sanctioned attempt to discourage abortion by compelling my consideration of the current and future condition of my fetal or embryonic tissue separate and apart from my body. I do not regard Political Information to be scientifically true or accurate or even relevant to my medical decisions. The communication of Political Information to me imposes an unwanted and substantial burden on my religious beliefs.
The form isn't just for Satanists, though — according the Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves, "All women who share our deeply held belief that their personal choices should be made with access to the best available information, undiluted by biased or false information, are free to seek protection with this exemption whether they are members of The Satanic Temple or not."
This isn't the first time Satanists have trolled terrifyingly over-zealous conservatives looking to blur the boundaries between church and state. Earlier this year, they constructed a massive sculpture of The Dark Lord and some rapt children near a monument to the Ten Commandments by the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Image via thesatanictemple.com.