In a devilishly bold move, The Satanic Temple (TST) has opened an online abortion clinic, showcasing a unique blend of telehealth screenings, appointments, and a dash of its “religious abortion ritual.” Derived from the Church of Satan, this “non-theistic religious organisation” has named its initiative The Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic.
As is made quite clear on the clinic’s website, the name is a cheeky nod to the conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Alito was one of the most prominent judges responsible for overturning Roe v. Wade, a move that almost overnight restricted thousands of individuals across the US from accessing legal abortions.
Seemingly, TST, boasting over 700,000 members, has emerged as one of the biggest defenders of the right to abortion, having employed a series of irony-laced legal manoeuvres and publicity stunts, all aiming to challenge restrictive abortion access and highlight the intrusion of religion into public life.
As reported by The Independent, Malcolm Jarry, co-founder of TST, stated: “In 1950, Samuel Alito’s mother did not have options, and look what happened.
Before 1973, doctors who performed abortions could lose their licenses and go to jail. 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.”
Pioneering itself as the “world’s first religious abortion clinic,” the Temple offers patients a unique concoction: pay for the medication at a pharmacy but savour the free blend of medical and religious services. The catch? Patients must be physically present in New Mexico and have a local mailing address. The clinic, currently staffed by five registered nurses and an advanced nurse practitioner, weaves religious freedom laws into its legal arsenal, claiming exemption from restrictive regulations through its “Satanic Abortion Ritual.”
Despite comedian and political commentator John Oliver hailing it as “the single best mom joke of all time” in a recent episode of his show and TST’s Health Supreme Courtship branch amusingly selling condoms featuring the faces of Supreme Court Justices, the religious group has unequivocally stated that the initiative is not a mere troll.
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Chalice Blythe, the minister of Satan at TST, shared insights on the morning of the clinic’s launch, framing it within a historical tradition of leveraging existing statutes to ensure the equal application of religious laws: “We’ve historically followed this approach, be it for bodily autonomy or abortion access. We are simply utilising religious protection to exercise our faith freely.” Highlighting the constant passage of laws and restrictions that impede their free exercise, she emphasised that any legal action taken by the Temple is geared toward safeguarding their ability to practice their faith.
Erin Helian, the Temple’s Religious Reproductive Rights Director, echoed this sentiment, revealing that naming the clinic as they did was a strategic decision made to underscore the injustices stemming from Justice Alito’s decisions, and the subsequent impact on bodily autonomy.
Facing a storm of condemnation, notably from Catholic groups, TST remains unapologetically committed to its cause.
As the clinic launches, amid humour and controversy, TST raises the curtain on a bold venture aimed at expanding reproductive options for its members. With a flair for the theatrical and a nod to the serious implications of restrictive laws, The Temple promises that this devilish endeavour is only the beginning of its fight for reproductive justice in the US.