IssuesJudicialStatewide NewsThe Satanic Temple Files New Briefing Over Texas Abortion Law

The Satanic Temple has filed new briefings in their suit against Texas, citing violations of free speech.
February 16, 2023
A Houston courthouse in the Southern District of Texas will be ruling on a new briefing from the Satanic Temple (TST), which claims that Texas abortion laws are preventing its members from performing their abortion “rituals.”

The briefing was filed by TST in December of last year on behalf of “Ann Doe.” 

Lawyers on behalf of the complainant stated, “The abortion ritual requires an abortion; and affirms [Doe’s] religious subscription to TST’s Third and Fifth Tenets.”

The “Tenets” mentioned state that “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone,” and “Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world.”

TST, as a nontheistic religion, was able to obtain tax-exempt status in 2019 from the Internal Revenue Service for classification as a “church or a convention or association of churches.”

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Texas courts previously issued a stay when in 2021 TST sought a religious exemption from Texas’ ban on abortion drugs.

TST sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in protest to a Texas law that restricts the distribution of abortion drugs by mail and the Heartbeat Act that allows Texas residents to sue anyone other than the mother that performs an illegal abortion. 

The argument was that “TST’s membership uses these products in a sacramental setting.” 

The group’s lawyers wrote that “The Satanic Abortion Ritual is a sacrament which surrounds and includes the abortive act. It is designed to combat feelings of guilt, doubt, and shame and to empower the member to assert or reassert power and control over their own mind and body.”

“After Dobbs comes down, we will reassess our legal strategy to continue fighting the good fight based on the new and anticipated developments in law,” said a TST attorney in response to the stay. 

The new lawsuit from TST argues on a constitutional basis that Texas’ sonogram requirements violate how “the free speech and free exercise clauses clearly prohibit State intrusion into the sacred rites of a religion.”

“These requirements substantially interfere with Ms. Does’s religious beliefs and practices,” a TST attorney explained.

The pro-life organization Texas Right to Life commented on these moves by TCT stating that “Satanists fail to acknowledge the real reason for the pain and grief suffered by so many following an abortion decision.”

“The pain of abortion is not because state legislators made the commonsense requirement to take steps to ensure informed consent. The pain of abortion follows from the senseless loss of human life and the violence inflicted on an innocent person.”

In 2020, the TST had its lawsuit dismissed by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals when it sued the State of Missouri over a similar abortion law that requires women to receive an informed consent pamphlet before they can get an abortion.


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Cameron Abrams

Cameron Abrams is a reporter for The Texan. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Tabor College and a Master’s Degree from University of the Pacific, Cameron is finishing his doctoral studies where his research focuses on the postmodern philosophical influences in education. In his free time, you will find him listening to a podcast while training for an endurance running event.