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Friday, Dec. 8
The Indiana Daily Student

The Satanic Temple sues Indiana over near-total abortion ban, claiming it infringes on its members’ rights


After the passage of Senate Bill 1 in Indiana, The Satanic Temple is now suing the state over the near-total abortion ban, claiming it violates citizens’ abortion rights and infringes on the group’s religious beliefs, according to an IndyStar article. The group claims the new law is unconstitutional because it doesn’t account for people who became pregnant even with contraceptive use.  

The Satanic Temple is a nontheistic religious organization based in Salem, Massachusetts. The group doesn’t believe in or worship the Biblical Satan, but rather, “venerates” an allegorical Satan referenced in the epic poem, “Paradise Lost,” the article said.  According to the group’s website, members follow seven tenets including a belief that a person’s body is “inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”  

The new Indiana Law, which the religious group is challenging, prohibits abortion operations except in cases of rape, incest up to ten weeks post-fertilization, fatal fetal anomalies or if the pregnancy poses a health risk for the mother.

Related: [Abortion ban passed by Senate, signed by governor

 According to the article, the Indiana chapter has over 11,300 members and filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana after anonymous women from Indiana say they get pregnant despite using contraceptives. 

“All of the involuntary pregnant women who are (temple) members believe the fetal tissue they carry in their uterus – from conception until viability – is part of their body and not imbued with any humanity or existence,” the lawsuit said.     

This lawsuit is the second one this month that revolves around religious freedoms, according to the article. Earlier this month, Hoosier Jews for Choice sued the state of Indiana, claiming the abortion law interfered with Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) from 2015.  

Related: [Indiana court temporarily blocks Indiana abortion ban

RFRA states the government can’t restrict a person’s ability to practice a religion without a compelling reason to do so, and The Satanic Temple cited this law in their case against the state.  

The Satanic Temple is asking that a federal judge avoid issuing criminal penalties to those who provide abortions to involuntarily pregnant members of The Satanic Temple because it would mean up to six years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000 for those who provided the service, according to the article.  

Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita are recognized as the defendants and are expected to reply to the issued complaint.  

As of Tuesday, Rokita appealed a Monroe County judge’s decision to put enforcing the law on hold last week due to possibly violating the Indiana Constitution, the article said.  

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