December 21, 2021

Satanic Temple Sues over Texas Heartbeat Act

The Satanic Temple is suing the state of Texas over its Heartbeat Act. In its lawsuit, the group claims that the law violates members' religious freedom.

Texas's Heartbeat Act prohibits abortion after the child's heartbeat is detectable (usually at six weeks gestation). So far, the law has remained in effect due to its unique enforcement. Rather than being enforced directly by the Texas government, private citizens are empowered to file lawsuits against those who participate in the abortion of protected unborn children.

Satanic Temple Director of Campaign Operations Erin Helian released a statement regarding the lawsuit. “SB 8’s ban on abortions after six weeks infringes upon our members’ rights to engage with their chosen religion and to participate in religious rites and rituals,” Helian said. “In accordance with our Third Tenet, The Satanic Temple will push back against the Texas legislature’s violation of our members’ bodily autonomy and freedom of choice.”

The Satanic Temple claimed that the right to an "abortion ritual" is protected under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Texas Constitution, and the First Amendment. The Temple plans to ask a judge to make its members exempt from prosecution under the Heartbeat Act by describing their rituals as First Amendment "conduct."