Boston, Mass., Feb 3, 2023 / 13:22 pm (CNA).
The Satanic Temple, a political activist group known for protesting religious symbolism in public spaces, has announced that it will be opening a free abortion clinic in New Mexico offering prescriptions for drugs that cause abortion.
“TST is proud to expand reproductive options for our members. This is just the beginning,” said Erin Helian, executive director of campaign operations for the group. “We will remain steadfast as we continue the fight to uphold reproductive justice in the United States.”
Abortion is legal up to the point of birth in New Mexico, except in the cities of Clovis and Hobbs, which passed laws banning abortion following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. TST’s move is seen as an attempt to counter any restrictions on abortion in the state.
The group, which denies the existence of Satan but associates itself with satanic imagery, says the online clinic will provide medication abortion pills by mail to those “who wish to perform The Satanic Temple’s religious abortion ritual.”
The opening of an abortion clinic follows a series of highly publicized stunts the group has orchestrated to challenge what it sees as an undue freedom of religion exercised in the public square.
According to their press release, TST “confronts religious discrimination to secure the separation of church and state and defend the constitutional rights of its members.”
Past initiatives include placing a bronze “Baphomet” statue in front of the Oklahoma Capitol to protest a statue of the Ten Commandments. The group also made headlines for hosting “After School Satan” clubs at a public schools that have Christian “Good News” clubs.
The New Mexico abortion clinic will be called “The Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic,” according to TST’s website.
Alito is the U.S. Supreme Court justice who wrote the majority opinion for the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case in June 2022, which overturned Roe v. Wade.
The Satanic Temple wrote on its website: “In 1950, Samuel Alito’s mother did not have options. The clinic’s name serves to remind people just how important it is to have the right to control one’s body and the potential ramifications of losing that right.”
The website features an animated picture of an older woman walking into the clinic saying the words, “If only abortion was legal when I was pregnant.”
Ethel Maharg, executive director of Right to Life in New Mexico, told KOB4 that TST’s announcement is “just an egregious thing.”
“They’re trying to make it a religious right so that they can use, I guess, the First Amendment right to practice, but that’s different, freedom of speech and religion,” Maharg said.
After the town of Hobbs voted to ban abortion in November, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, told Reuters that the ordinance had been “authored by out-of-state extremists” and called it “a clear affront to the rights and personal autonomy of every woman in Hobbs and southeastern New Mexico, and we will not stand for it.”
The abortion clinic has a “frequently asked questions” page, which addresses the question of abortion access for those who don’t live in New Mexico.
“Regardless of where you live, if you are in the state of New Mexico during your video consultation and when you perform your abortion ritual, you will have abided by the law,” the website says.
“However, if you travel to a state where abortion is illegal and need follow-up care, there may be some risks,” the website says.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have enough information to know how state laws will be enforced. We believe that the religious nature of our care neutralizes this risk, but state courts must affirm this, and we are working toward attaining that confirmation,” the website reads.
The clinic will provide abortion care for free, the clinic’s website says, adding that it will be funded by donations from supporters.
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