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‘Satanic Temple’ Sues Indiana Over Abortion Ban

REUTERS/Cheney Orr

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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A group called “The Satanic Temple” has sued the State of Indiana on religious freedom grounds to block its near-complete ban on abortions, per a lawsuit filed in federal court on Sept. 21.

The group, naming the state’s Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and Attorney Gen. Todd Rokita, as respondents, filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. It claims to be filing the suit on behalf of a female member of the group that became “involuntarily pregnant” and wishes to terminate the pregnancy.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Holcomb signed into law Senate Act 1 on Aug. 5, which imposed a ban on all abortions in the state, excepting those following rape or incest, fetal anomaly, or when a serious risk to the mother’s life is posed. It also made any abortions violating the law a criminal offense. (RELATED: Indiana Becomes First State To Approve Near-Total Abortion Ban Post Dobbs)

Though bearing the word “Satanic” in its name, the group is not affiliated with the Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey as a rejection of Abrahamic faiths, including Christianity – though it uses similar imagery. Instead, the group claims to “venerate, but not worship” the “allegorical Satan” in John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, who is cast as a defender of personal sovereignty against religious dictates.

In its complaint, the Temple states that the group’s ideology includes the notion that “one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.” On this basis, it argues that the “unborn child” in a pregnant woman’s womb – existing as a “zygote” and “blastocyst” – is an extension of the woman’s body and may be removed if she desires, claiming that the state’s ban on doing so thence violates the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In several counts, the Satanic Temple also alleges that Indiana’s law violates the 5th Amendment’s Takings Clause – which mandates that the government may only take “private property for public use” with “just compensation” – by asserting that a woman has property rights to her uterus, whose use the state violates by imposing a ban on abortions.

Additionally, it claims that the law violates the 13th Amendment by forcing the woman to bear the child and, hence, provide it with “hormones, oxygen, nutrients, antibodies, body heat, and protection from external shocks and intrusions,” which it considers to be “involuntary servitude.”

The group’s lawsuit is the second legal attack on the law in recent weeks. On Sept. 20, a state judge issued a temporary injunction against the law while it hears a challenge to its constitutionality.

The Daily Caller News Foundation has reached out to the Satanic Temple for a comment.

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