A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana by the Massachusetts-based religious association says it brought the lawsuit on behalf of anonymous women from Indiana who say they became pregnant by accident despite using contraceptives.
Under Indiana's new law they would not be able to get an abortion, according to the lawsuit.
Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita are listed as defendants. A spokesperson for Rokita's office said in a prepared statement Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court decided earlier this year that abortion is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. "This new lawsuit merely offers weaker arguments for the same discredited right," the spokesperson added.
Satanic Temple lawsuit is latest to challenge Indiana Abortion Law
The new law bans abortions except in cases of rape or incest up to 10 weeks post-fertilization, when pregnancy poses a risk to the life or long-term health of the mother, or in the case of fatal fetal anomalies. Enforcement of the law was put on hold last week by a visiting judge in Monroe County who found that it may violate the Indiana Constitution. Rokita has already appealed the judge’s decision.
Abortion rights in Indiana:Judge blocks Indiana's new abortion law — for now
The Satanic Temple has more than 11,300 members in Indiana, according to its lawsuit. The group "venerates, but does not worship" the allegorical Satan as featured in the 17th-century epic poem Paradise Lost by John Milton. They follow a set of tenets including the belief that a person’s body is subject to their will and their will alone, the lawsuit says, and that beliefs should “conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world.”
“All of the involuntarily pregnant women who are (temple) members believe the fetal tissue they carry in their uterus – from conception until viability – is part of their body and not imbued with any humanity or existence,” the lawsuit states.
Hoosier Jews for Choice say abortion ban violates RFRA
It appears to be the second lawsuit filed this month that challenges the restrictions on the grounds of religious freedoms. Five Hoosier women and a religious abortion-rights group called Hoosier Jews for Choice sued the state earlier in September with support from the ACLU of Indiana. They claimed the abortion law violates Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act from 2015.
The Satanic Temple makes that same argument in its lawsuit, on top of allegations that the law infringes on various rights granted to its members in Indiana by the U.S. Constitution.
The temple is asking that a federal judge bar the state from bringing criminal penalties – which can reach six years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000 – against anyone who provides an abortion to involuntarily pregnant members of The Satanic Temple.
Call IndyStar courts reporter Johnny Magdaleno at 317-273-3188 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @IndyStarJohnny
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Satanic Temple lawsuit: Indiana abortion law violates religious rights