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Hobby Lobby Sets Precedent for Religious Exemption from Abortion Restrictions

Uh oh—Satanists.

Like many observers, Tim Gebhart wrote in June that the Hobby Lobby decision opens the door to exemptions from law for members of all sorts of religious sects on the basis of religious claims that the Hobby Lobby declared off limits to judicial inquiry.

I'm still waiting for our Lakota neighbors to head for their Hills with this precedent. But with an apt "I told you so," Gebhart this week gets to point to the Satanists, who are making a religious claim to an exemption from informed consent laws imposed on women seeking abortions in places like South Dakota:

The Satanic Temple... is specifically invoking Hobby Lobby for exemptions from state-mandated “informational” materials used as a part of informed consent. It says it believes “the body is inviolable – subject to one’s own will alone” and the belief “is fundamental to our religious philosophy.” It reasons that requiring women to receive “biased or false” information that is based on politics and not science is an “affront” to that belief [Tim Gebhart, "Not to Say I Told You So, But...," A Progressive on the Prairie, 2014.07.31].

How does a woman get out of the propaganda to which South Dakota law subjects her if she wants an abortion? She just hands this letter to her doctor, and poof! the Roberts-Alito court should excuse her from Leslee Unruh's fact-free sermons and South Dakota's insulting 72-hour waiting period.

Unfortunately, along with declaring sincere religious belief in inviolable bodily autonomy and supremacy of one's own scientific conclusions over state-mandated propaganda, the letter also declares one's adherence "to the principles of the Satanic Temple."

Great, just what Leslee Unruh, Gordon Howie, and Ted Cruz are hoping for: women seeking abortions to put in writing that they worship the Devil.


  1. Steve Sibson 2014.07.31

    "It says it believes “the body is inviolable"

    Cory, that argument will provide protection for the unborn child, as it is a human body. Nice try though.

    Now, how about banning all New Age religious elements from government schools, like yoga.

  2. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.31

    How about we ban all religion including this mysterious New Age religious element from government, period.

  3. Barry Smith 2014.07.31

    Sibby do you believe that the 330 million Hindu gods actually exist? I am pretty sure that those folks who belong to the satanic temple do not believe that satan exists.

  4. Joan Brown 2014.07.31

    At the stage that most abortions are performed there is no child. It is merely a cluster of cells that amounts to a parasite living off a woman.

  5. Gayle McLeod aka PrairieLady 2014.07.31

    As an older woman who was/is an advocate for birth control and abortion, I have been sickened to the point that I can barely read what has been happening, much less understand all the anti woman legislation we have gotten to today.
    I am think we who are pro rights of woman need to start standing outside these so called "informative" counseling agencies with signs as the anti abortionists do at the abortion clinics. We need signs and start protesting the false information they are handing out. We need to start fighting fire with fire.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.31

    Gayle, I'm always up for fighting fire with whatever bucjet of flamethrower we have available.

    Steve, the real inviolability rests in the will we exert over our own bodies. What will do those clusters of cells exert?

    But let's not get too far into the weeds. The fetus depends entirely on the mother for support. The mother thus gets to call the shots on accepting the unique demands placed upon her by another being. Legislators and SIbby and I don't get to interfere.

    And the Hobby Lobby point here is that if my religious beliefs toe the bodily autonomy line, and if my religious beliefs say fetuses don't qualify for that autonomy until they are no longer in the womb, then heck, my religious beliefs trump the law.

  7. Steve Sibson 2014.07.31

    "It is merely a cluster of cells that amounts to a parasite living off a woman."

    Both Joan and Cory were at this stage at one point in their lives.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.01

    Yup, we were. But at that cell stage, we had no Constitutional rights that trumped those of our biological hosts. And under the reasoning of the Hobby Lobby decision, those hosts could have claimed religious objection to being forced by the state to listen to false statements or coercive "advice" from third parties.

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