Satanists Plan to Challenge Texas Law Requiring Aborted Babies to be Buried or Cremated

By Lauretta Brown | December 5, 2016 | 2:30pm EST
Lucien Greaves in the Satanic Temple’s Salem, MA headquarters. (AP Photo)

( – The Satanic Temple released a statement Saturday challenging new rules proposed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott which require aborted babies to be cremated or buried and go into effect Dec. 19th.

The Satanic Temple called burial rites a “well-established component of religious practice” and said their members believe in “the inviolability of the body,” concluding that “as such these rules contradict our fundamental beliefs.”

The Satanists invoked their First Amendment “right to practice our beliefs,” adding that “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,” they argued. “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 new rules are part of what Governor Abbott said are meant to “reflect our respect for the sanctity of life” and “turn the tides against the soulless abortion industry in Texas.”

The rule would not apply to women who have abortions or miscarriages at home.

Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves told Jezebel that the group plans to sue if an issue arises.

“We’ll file an injunction as soon as the state tried to impose this on a member who claims exemption,” he said. “As soon as that happens, we absolutely will sue, and it’s very, very difficult to imagine any plausible reasoning by which we’d lose.”

Another member of the organization, Jex Blackmore, is advocating on Facebook and elsewhere that people send socks soaked in bodily fluids to Governor Abbott to protest the rules. She told Broadly that "the concept of the state mandating a non-medical ritual as part of the abortion procedure is offensive and crude, essentially demanding that all citizens adopt the moral, philosophical opinion that fetal tissue is comparable to a living human."

The Satanic Temple describes its mission as “the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty,” particularly touting that they have provided “legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women’s reproductive autonomy.”

The group also filed both state and federal lawsuits last year, on behalf of a pregnant Missouri member, against a Missouri law requiring a 72-hour waiting period between a woman’s initial appointment and her abortion appointment objecting “on religious grounds because they violate our belief in the inviolability of one’s body.”

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