The Satanic Temple versus a Texas abortion rule

Sometimes our last hope (or one of our last hopes) for getting rid of unjust laws and regulations comes from the most unlikely of places. Such as it does in this case, where the Satanic Temple stands ready to sue to oppose a blatantly stupid regulation.

As recently reported, the aforementioned Satanic Temple has claimed the new anti-abortion regulations (not laws) that Texas has passed violate their religious freedom. The rule says that post-abortion fetal remains must be buried or cremated. This applies to abortions at hospitals and abortion clinics (and other healthcare facilities). The rule stops short of requiring death certificates for fetal tissue thankfully, but should still be considered offensive to anyone who values the availability of safe and legal abortion.

Before I get flamed to a crisp, I’d like to clear the air. The Satanic Temple, despite what its name may appear to imply, is probably not what you think it is. It would be better to think of them as “extreme atheists” per this description from Wikipedia (trimmed down to the relevant portion):

The Satanic Temple is an American political activist organization […]. The group utilizes satanic imagery to promote egalitarianism, social justice and the separation of church and state. Their stated mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people”.

Even as a rather hardcore atheist, I find my comfort zone really tested by groups such as the Satanic Temple. The shock value of using Satanic imagery is part of how they get the point across regarding separation of church and state, probably because it’s the only way they can get the point across to the most devout Bible-thumping Christians. I get that.

I do believe in egalitarianism, the separation of church and state, and social justice. The fact that the Satanic Temple and similar groups happen to believe in the same causes won’t change that. The reasons why I had to explain that the Satanic Temple is not what it first appears, however, is one of the reasons why I remain hesitant to openly support them.

I picked atheism, or more accurately, secular humanism, for a reason. I won’t go into the details here, but I will basically say that I’m best at doing me, and going to church and blindly believing in a god felt like I’m being an actor in a play more than just being myself. When I had religion, I just didn’t feel like I was doing me.

My pro-choice stance on abortion doesn’t come about because I don’t believe life is sacred–it is. It is a logical continuation of my stance on legalizing or at least decriminalizing most recreational drugs. Remember that here in the US, we once had a period where abortion was outright illegal in at least some jurisdictions. Like the laws prohibiting use and possession of recreational drugs, however, these laws which criminalized abortion didn’t stop abortion–they just moved it to the back alleys to be done by guys with coat hangers and other similarly crude instruments, and no medical training.

No, my stance on keeping abortion legal and accessible is that I would rather have legal abortions in a proper medical setting, done by properly trained doctors, where if something goes wrong, it can be cared for properly instead of a back-alley abortionist having to call for an ambulance which may or may not get there in time–and remember that back-alley abortionist won’t be there when it arrives unless he/she wants to risk criminal prosecution.

So yeah, it’s a shame that we need the Satanic Temple to get some people to see just how screwed up these anti-abortion laws and regulations are. We really shouldn’t. That silly rule is un-Texan and needs to be stricken down. If the Satanic Temple happens to be the ones to get it done, more power to them.