Religious Law

Satanists assert a Hobby Lobby exemption from abortion informed-consent laws


A group called the Satanic Temple is claiming the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision gives its followers an exemption from informed-consent abortion laws.

The group says in a press release (PDF) that it views some of the mandated information as scientifically unfounded and an affront to its religious beliefs, the Huffington Post reports. The Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores that closely held corporations can’t be required to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives over their owners’ religious objections.

Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves says in the press release that women who share the group’s deeply held religious belief that personal choices should be based on the best available information are free to assert the exemption.

The Huffington Post story links to information about informed consent from the Guttmacher Institute (PDF). Thirty-five states have laws requiring counseling before abortions, and 27 have specific informational requirements, though the states differ on whether the materials must be given or merely offered to women seeking abortion. Twelve require information about fetal pain, five require an assertion that personhood begins at conception, and five inaccurately report a link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer, according to the institute.

On its website, the Satanic Temple describes itself as a group that facilitates the mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists and advocates for individual liberty.

The Satanic Temple was previously in the news when it offered to donate a “good taste” monument to be placed next to a Ten Commandments display by Oklahoma’s Statehouse.

Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves was previously known as Doug Mesner, who studied false memories related to ritual abuse. In a Vice.com interview, he was asked whether the Satanic Temple was a satanic or satirical group. “I say why can’t it be both?” Greaves answered.

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