A Satanist group is using the Hobby Lobby ruling to campaign for a religious exemption to anti-choice abortion laws.
The Satanic Temple (TST) is a religious group that "believes that the body is inviolable **subject to one’s own will alone" and encourages making personal health decisions "based on the best scientific understanding of the world, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others.” The group launched a campaign Monday on behalf of a woman's right to accurate medical information and cited the Hobby Lobby ruling as bolstering this position.
Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned arts and crafts store based in Oklahoma, filed a lawsuit in 2012 due to a stipulation in President Obama's Affordable Care Act which required employer-provided health insurance to cover contraceptives. Hobby Lobby disagreed with this on the basis that certain contraceptives could be abortive and argued the law violates religious freedom. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that some closely held, for-profit corporations could be exempt from providing contraception coverage to employees on the basis of religious beliefs.
Informed consent bills **requiring abortion providers to give their patients official “informational” material regarding the procedure **have been criticized in the past for providing biased and false information to women in a bald effort at dissuading them from abortions. Such materials have included claims of a link between abortion and breast cancer, as well as claims regarding a depressive “post*abortion syndrome”, both of which The Satanic Temple view as “scientifically unfounded” and “medically invalid” and therefore an affront to their religious beliefs.
Currently, 35 states require that women receive "informational" abortion counseling before terminating a pregnancy. This can include written materials with statements about the fetus's ability to feel pain, erroneous links between abortion and increased breast cancer risks and supposed psychological responses to abortion.
TST considers this misleading and believes the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters the temple's goal for religious exemption.
“While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact," TST spokesperson Lucien Greaves said in a press release. "This was made clear when they allowed Hobby Lobby to claim certain contraceptives were abortifacients, when in fact they are not. Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state* mandated ‘informational’ material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them.