Attorney for The Satanic Temple explains reasoning behind Indiana abortion lawsuit

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The lawyer for The Satanic Temple said, beyond Indiana’s near-total abortion ban violating members’ religious freedoms, it comes down to an issue of property ownership of the uterus and involuntary servitude during what they describe as an “involuntary pregnancy.”

W. James MacNaughton is the attorney for The Satanic Temple in the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. He said, “Because you own, in the property sense, your uterus, you have the right to control its disposition as a matter of property law.”

The brief defines an involuntarily pregnant person as someone whose birth control methods fail. It argues that without just compensation for the involuntary pregnancy, the abortion ban strips a pregnant person of their constitutional property rights. The second count of the suit argues the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s Thirteenth Amendment, which makes involuntary servitude illegal.

“You provide it with blood, oxygen, warmth, nutrients, hormones, but you’re not getting paid for it,” MacNaughton said. “That is involuntary servitude.”

The third count argues the ban unjustly discriminates between accidental pregnancies and ones caused by rape or incest. The fourth count said because the ban does not apply to pregnancies from in vitro fertilization, this is also discriminatory to accidental pregnancies.

“Women whose birth control fails are also pregnant without their consent except by accident,” MacNaughton said.

The fifth count alleges a violation of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it makes the exercise of The Satanic Temple’s abortion ritual a crime. The temple believes an individual is the only one who can make decisions over their body and a forced pregnancy goes against their rights.

“It’s the exercise of a religious belief that a fetus or an embryo is not an individual human being separate in part from the mother but simply a part of your body,” MacNaughton said. “And if it is an unwanted part of your body, you have to exclude it. You have to remove it.”

MacNaughton said The Satanic Temple is fighting against having religious ideas influencing the law.

“The government has adopted a religious standard for medical care,” MacNaughton said. “The government bought into the concept that human life begins at conception. That is a religious principle.”

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