The Satanic Temple has announced the launch of an online abortion clinic, offering telehealth screenings and consultations and prescribing abortion medications to patients who wish to participate in their “religious abortion ritual.”
The group, which describes itself as a “non-theistic religious organization” and not to be confused with the Church of Satan, said it hopes to expand clinics to states that have restricted abortion following a Supreme Court ruling that ended abortion. Roe vs. Wade.
The Temple called the initiative “Samuel Alito’s Mother’s Satanic Abortion Clinic,” in reference to the conservative Justice who drafted the majority opinion that overturned the abortion right case that had been the country’s law since 1973.
“In 1950, Samuel Alito’s mother had no options, and look what happened,” said Malcolm Jarry, co-founder of The Satanic Temple.
“Before 1973, doctors who performed abortions could lose their licenses and go to jail. The name of the clinic serves to remind people how important it is to have the right to control one’s body and the potential ramifications of losing that right,” he added.
The Temple, which claims to have more than 700,000 members, has described the program as the “world’s first religious abortion clinic.” Patients pay a pharmacy for the drug, but medical and religious services are free, he added. Patients must be in New Mexico at the time of the visit and have a New Mexico mailing address.
Based in Salem, Massachusetts, the Temple implements legal actions and publicity stunts to highlight the intrusion of religion into public life, using America’s religious laws to fight restrictions on access to abortion.
Last year, it sued Indiana and Idaho in federal court, arguing that the state’s abortion ban infringes on members’ rights.
The lawsuit alleges that a pregnant woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy in accordance with the temple’s Tenet III – “A person’s body is inviolable, subject only to one’s own will” – and its “Satanic Rite of Abortion”, which includes “a personal statement that is ceremoniously intertwined with abortion,” it explains on its website.
The Temple cites the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to argue that the ritual exempts its members “from enduring unnecessary and unscientific medical regulations in attempting to terminate a pregnancy.”