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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Satanic Temple, an atheist group, is claiming Texas' new aborted baby burial rule is a violation of the group's religious liberties.
ChurchMilitant.com reported on November 30 that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) initiated a rule mandating that abortion mills and hospitals bury or cremate the remains of aborted babies.
The Satanic Temple (TST) and other abortion activists are objecting to the rule, calling it "pointless" and "insulting." A spokesperson from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas declared the purpose of the rule "is to complicate standard medical practice by overlaying other unnecessary requirements to make it so hard that women won't be able to access abortion."
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute commented, "Typically, what has been required is that the products of conception be treated as any other tissue from the body. So, as medical waste."
The Texas Medical Association is also complaining that the rule "presents regulatory intrusion" into the "unique relationship" between doctors and patients.
The Satanic Temple's tactic, however, is different because the self-described atheist organization is claiming that "burial rites are a well-established component of religious practice." It continues, "[M]embers of The Satanic Temple believe in the inviolability of the body and, as such, these rules contradict our fundamental beliefs."
The organization goes on to maintain that "the State must present a compelling reason for why they want to enforce rules that inhibit adherence to our religious practices."
"Clearly, the State of Texas has no compelling reason because these rules were not enacted to promote health and safety," the group argues, "but rather to harass and burden women who terminate their pregnancies."
While abortion advocates write off aborted babies as "products of conception," a spokeswoman for Texas governor Greg Abbott commented that the governor and state lawmakers believe "human and fetal remains should not be treated like medical waste, and the proposed rule changes affirm the value and dignity of all life."
Ordinarily, TST does not require any specific behaviors from its adherents, couching its tenets as suggestions and calling them "guiding principles." Even so, it claims, "For these reasons, members of The Satanic Temple are not required to comply with the Texas rule on fetal remains. Nevertheless, we will require legal support to protect the rights of our members."
The organization, however, acknowledges, "Texas health officials are baldly imposing the view that the fetal tissue is elevated to personhood — a religious opinion that conflicts with our own."
In 2015, undercover footage released by the Center for Medical Progress showed an abortion mill director joking about having more dead babies than she could handle, remarking that she had 20 bottles of babies' remains dumped into the clinic's garbage disposal,
"The garbage disposal was an option," remarked Renee Chelian, founder and executive director of Northland Family Planning Centers in Detroit, Michigan. "There was a point that I actually hired someone from another clinic to come in and take 20 bottles and put it into my garbage disposal. And then I had to 'fess up to my staff that I did the thing I had been criticizing all these other clinics for doing — but I didn't know what else to do."
She went on, "I want you to laugh about this. It's funny — I mean, it's funny in a really sick way."