The Satanic Temple Spends Valentine's Day Fighting for Women's Rights

The Satanic Temple is a contrived, libertarian movement best known for its statues, pentagrams and for its incessant trolling of devout Christian with rich and theatrical pro-choice protests.

But throughout the year, the nontheistic political group spends their time diligently fighting to protect women's reproductive rights, challenging oppressive laws they feel are rooted in Christian dogma.

(Photograph: Matthew Kirby/Konbini)

Leader Lucien Greaves describes the Temple as a progressive version of LaVey's Satanism (Photograph: Konbini / Matthew Kirby)

Last Valentine's Day, the temple, based in Salem Massachusetts, made headlines when it launched a fundraiser - encouraging "hugs and kisses for Satan" - to pay for two lawsuits filed against Missouri.

Both litigations were made on behalf of pregnant women seeking an abortion in the state and oppose laws which require a 72-hour waiting period before a termination procedure can take place.

During this time, women are given "reading material claiming that life begins at conception" and in cases are required to have an ultrasound exam, according to Jex Blackmore, a spokesperson for the Satanic Temple's reproductive rights campaign.

"For over two years, the Satanic Temple (TST) has pursued a lawsuit against the Governor and Attorney General of Missouri, alleging that the State’s mandated 'informed consent' materials, ultrasound, and 72-hour waiting period violated a member of The Satanic Temple’s First Amendment rights," she said.

"[We] object to these restrictions on religious grounds because they violate the organization's belief in the inviolability of one’s body."

Satanists, Blackmore explains, believe in two tenants, that "one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone" and that "beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world."

"We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs," she writes.

postcard-4inx6in-h-front

Religious Reproductive Rights (Image: The Satanic Temple)

Women seeking an abortion in Missouri must receive reproductive propaganda under consent laws, and be informed that "the life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being."

The state claims literature and the "mandated" waiting period helps women make difficult decisions and prevents the number of abortions.

A national survey by the Guttmacher Institute, however, found that 92% of women reported having made their mind up long before making an appointment with an abortion clinic.

And in 2014, a study published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal found that of the 15,000 women who visit Planned Parenthood clinics in LA and are shown their ultrasounds, 98.4% still went on to get an abortion anyway.

In January, the Satanic Temple made some progress on their lawsuit, forcing a Missouri state solicitor general to debunk the notion that an ultrasound is 'legally' required for women seeking an abortion.

This admission, which some have dubbed a "minor miracle", states that the abortion-seeker must only be "asked" if she would like the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat.

The Satanic Temple was founded in 2014 on seven core tenants that aim to "encourage benevolence and empathy among all people" and "reject tyrannical authority."

In a bid to demand true separation of Church and state, the liberal group has filed numerous lawsuits against schools, towns and state departments who prioritize the Christian faith.

In 2016, it even forced a school to host an after-school Satan club, following advice from a lawyer who said the school board would lose a lawsuit if the cub were denied.

 

Writer and photographer from South London, UK. If you want to get in touch please email me at: matthew.kirby@konbini.com