THE SATANIC TEMPLE
RELIGIOUS DEFENSE OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
TEXAS RULE ON FETAL REMAINS
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services plans to enforce new rules that require that fetal tissue must be buried or cremated and can no longer be disposed of in sanitary landfills as they are in every other state.
The Satanic Temple believes burial rites are a well-established component of religious practice. This is undisputed in the entirety of US legal history. In addition, members of The Satanic Temple believe in the inviolability of the body and, as such, these rules contradict our fundamental beliefs. The First Amendment protects our right to practice our beliefs, and under the Religious Freedom Reform Act (RFRA), the State must present a compelling reason for why they want to enforce rules that inhibit adherence to our religious practices. Clearly, the State of Texas has no compelling reason because these rules were not enacted to promote health and safety, but rather to harass and burden women who terminate their pregnancies.
For these reasons, members of The Satanic Temple are not required to comply with the Texas rule on fetal remains. Nevertheless, we will require legal support to protect the rights of our members.
THE SATANIC TEMPLE (TST) has filed both state and federal lawsuits against the state of Missouri on behalf of Mary Doe, a pregnant woman seeking an abortion. Missouri law requires that all women seeking to lawfully terminate their pregnancy must be given reading material claiming that life begins at conception, and they must endure a 72-hour waiting period between their initial appointment and their actual abortion procedure. TST objects to these restrictions on religious grounds because they violate our belief in the inviolability of one’s body.
WHAT IS AT STAKE
Outside of TST efforts, legal battles involving women’s reproductive rights predominantly involve defensive postures that focus on the struggle to keep existing clinics open in the face of increasing amounts of onerous legislation. These new regulations have no purpose other than to make abortion difficult and ultimately impossible to obtain. The success of our lawsuits would be a huge victory over all restrictive abortion laws that have no medical purpose. In addition, it would put all other states on notice that these types of restrictions can be successfully challenged.