INDIANAPOLIS — The Satanic Temple (TST) has filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Eric Holcomb and Attorney General Todd Rokita over Indiana's abortion ban.
TST says it venerates, but does not worship, the allegorical Satan described in the epic poem Paradise Lost - the defender of personal sovereignty against the dictates of religious authority.
The group filed the lawsuit on behalf of its female members who are involuntarily pregnant. It says TST 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 separate and apart from that of the Involuntarily Pregnant Woman herself."
The lawsuit says TST members could and did get abortions before the Indiana's near-total abortion ban law took effect on Sept. 15.
Now that the law is in effect, TST claims involuntary pregnant women are unable to engage in the Satanic Abortion Ritual "due to the criminalization of abortions in Indiana."
It also says the ban "unconstitutionally takes the property of involuntarily pregnant women without just compensation." A woman's uterus is defined as "a tangible thing in which she has property rights," according to the lawsuit.
"The property right of an Involuntarily Pregnant Woman to exclude or remove a Protected Unborn Child from her uterus cannot be taken by the State of Indiana without just compensation pursuant to the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," the lawsuit reads. "The Indiana Abortion Ban makes the exclusion or removal of a Protected Child from the uterus of an Involuntarily Pregnant Woman a crime."
The lawsuit also mentions that Indiana's abortion ban "subjects involuntarily pregnant women to involuntary servitude in violation of the 13th Amendment" as well as "unconstitutionally discriminates between women who become pregnant by accident and those who are pregnant by rape or incest" and "women who become pregnant by protected sex .... [or] in vitro fertilization."
It also claims the ban violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act "because it makes the exercise of the Satanic Abortion Ritual a crime."
Earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit also claiming the state's new abortion law violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
TST says it has more than 1.5 million members worldwide, including more than 11,300 in Indiana.
Last week, the State of Indiana filed an appeal against a judge's decision to place its new abortion law on hold while a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality, according to the Associated Press.
The TST "respectfully requests the entry of an order permanently enjoining Defendants from enforcing the Indiana Abortion Ban against anyone who provides an abortion to an Involuntarily Pregnant Woman who is also a member of TST."
WRTV reached out to the offices of Holcomb and Rokita.
Erin Murphy, Gov. Holcomb's press secretary, told WRTV in an email "we don’t comment on pending litigation."
A spokesperson for Rokita's office shared the following statement:
The U.S. Supreme Court has already rejected the idea that abortion is protected by the Constitution, and this new lawsuit merely offers weaker arguments for the same discredited right. Defending validly passed laws, including those intended to protect the unborn, is a core mission of the Attorney General.