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Satanic Temple files lawsuit against Idaho lawmakers over abortion ban

The Temple claims that 3,500 of its members are based in Idaho and that the state is infringing on their religious rights to practice abortion.

IDAHO, USA — The Satanic Temple (TST), based in Salem, Mass., has filed a lawsuit against Idaho Governor Brad Little, citing the state has revoked its members' religious rights by restricting abortions in the state. 

TST filed the suit on the last day of September. 

In the suit, TST claims of its 1.5 million members worldwide, 3,500 members are in Idaho. TST says that by restricting abortion access in Idaho, the state infringes its members' religious rights to safe abortion procedures. 

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against abortion bans in Idaho, citing the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Thirteenth Amendment's prohibition of involuntary servitude, and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

The Temple says that the lawsuit advocates for all the female TST members residing in Idaho who are "involuntarily pregnant" or "wish to remain anonymous due to the risk of violent retribution from domestic terrorists motivated by animosity to proponents of abortion." 

TST describes an "involuntarily pregnant woman" as:

  1. Is "pregnant," as that term is defined in Idaho Code § 18-604(11) with an "unborn child" as that term is used in Idaho Code § 18-604(5)
  2. The "unborn child" is not "viable" as that term is used Idaho Code § 18-604(15); and
  3.  Became pregnant without her consent due to:
    1. The legal inability to consent to sex (other than rape or incest); and/or
    2. The failure of her Birth Control

The TST claims its member adhere to seven tents. 

  • Tenet I - One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
  • Tenet II - The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions. 
  • Tenet III - One's body is inviolable, subject to one's own will alone.
  • Tenet IV - The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To encroach upon the freedoms of another willfully and unjustly is to forgo one's own. 
  • Tenet V - Beliefs should conform to one's best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one's beliefs.
  • Tenet VI - People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one's best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused. 
  • Tenet VII - Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word. 

TST specifically pointed to Tenet III and V in its suit in relation to abortion restrictions in Idaho. 

On August 25, 2022, a trigger law in Idaho went into effect that bans abortion in the state. The only exception is if a survivor can provide a police report in cases of rape or incest or if the mother's life is in danger. It also makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion. 

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging Idaho's abortion law, arguing that it conflicts with a federal law requiring doctors to provide pregnant women medically necessary treatment that could include abortion.

The Temple has also filed lawsuits in Indiana and Texas to stop each state's abortion bans. 

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