The Satanic Temple Announces Religious Abortion Ritual

The Satanic Temple dropped big news this week, announcing an official abortion ritual. This is significant: it allows members of TST to be exempted from oppressive and religiously motivated guidelines for abortion that violate their deeply held convictions.

The official announcement read:

The Satanic abortion ritual provides spiritual comfort and affirms bodily autonomy, self-worth, and freedom from coercive forces with the affirmation of TST’s Seven Tenets. The ritual is not intended to convince a person to have an abortion. Instead, it sanctifies the abortion process by instilling confidence and protecting bodily rights when undergoing the safe and scientific procedure.

The announcement also provides a list of requirements that violate a TST Satanist’s religious rights:

  • Mandatory waiting periods.
  • The requirement that practitioners withhold certain medical information.
  • Compulsory counseling prior to abortion.
  • Required reading material.
  • Medically unnecessary sonograms.
  • Mandatory listening to the fetal heartbeat.
  • Compulsory cremation or burial of fetal remains.

The ritual itself is beautiful and simple. For surgical abortions:

Prior to receiving any anesthetic or sedation, look at your reflection to be reminded of your personhood and your responsibility to yourself. Focus on your intent. Take deep breaths, and make yourself comfortable. When you are ready, say the Third Tenet and Fifth Tenet aloud. You may now undergo the surgery. After the surgery is completed and any anesthetic has worn off, return to your reflection and recite your personal affirmation. Feel doubts dissipating and your confidence growing as you have just undertaken a decision that affirms your autonomy and free will. The religious abortion ritual is now complete.

For medical abortions:

Immediately before taking the medication(s) to terminate your pregnancy, look at your reflection to be reminded of your personhood and responsibility to yourself. Focus on your intent, take deep breaths, and make yourself comfortable. When ready, read the Third Tenet aloud to begin the ritual. After swallowing the medication(s), take another deep breath and recite the Fifth Tenet. After you have passed the embryo, return to your reflection, and recite the personal affirmation. Feel doubts dissipating and your confidence growing as you have just undertaken a decision that affirms your autonomy and free will. The religious abortion ritual is now complete.

Watch the video announcement here:

I hope to do a follow up interview with leadership of TST about the satanic abortion ritual in the coming weeks. If you need more information about this ritual, please visit this page.

What are your thoughts on this development? Please write me an email or leave a comment below. If your comment is excellent, I might feature it in my monthly Best Comments series.


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13 thoughts on “The Satanic Temple Announces Religious Abortion Ritual

  1. This interests me quite a bit. I’d have to learn more and know more about it as I am a little squeamish even now to abort anything. I can’t quite bring myself to renounce the Bible though I understand it is full of rubbish, with a little bit of truth thrown in to make us think it is all true. I’m very, very intrigued though!

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    1. I’m being serious btw! I had a friend in the occult and she got messed up real bad. A lot of people do. Cry out to God and repent while you can! I believe He is plentious in mercy but we gotta repent

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  2. Frankly, as a relatively new-ish member of TST (2 years, 4 months), I am perplexed. Framing this as a Satanic Abortion Ritual would seem to play right into the some of the more paranoid aspects of the narrative that evangelicals and their allies hold as doctrine – a narrative that non-theistic Satanists have been working so hard to counter both on a personal level and as a collective movement. As someone who has worked professionally on public awareness and advocacy campaigns for more than a decade, I can see this approach generating attention but I’m not seeing how this will lead to any meaningful policy change, nor do I see how it would provide any guarantee that someone who is a member of a minority religion (such as ours) will be able to have their abortion provided in a manner that respects their religious traditions and identity. The other aspect of this campaign that I find confusing is the abortion raffle as a fundraising strategy. The entry price of $200 is pretty steep considering the current state of the economy, and the ‘prize’ itself is, well, rather specific as far as the intended recipient. Clearly there is a game-within-a-game that I am just not seeing (kind of like baseball).

    Having said all of this, I’m in my second year of a Masters in Public Administration program, with an emphasis on nonprofit management. This semester I am being tasked with conducting a critique of a nonprofit organization’s strategic or organizational plan, and I would be thrilled to bits and infernally grateful if you (Stephen) or one of your readers would be able to point me toward the person within TST I should approach about helping me with this project. \m/

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    1. Hey there, thanks so much for your comment. Allow me to provide some initial thoughts:

      I personally don’t see the unveiling of the abortion ritual as a perplexing or drastic step for TST. Abortion has always been a central issue for TST, framed in explicitly Satanic religious terms, regardless of how our critics interpret that. So, regardless of whether or not we like the Abortion Ritual, it isn’t out of step with TST’s views of abortion as a Satanic act, and it doesn’t feel like a terribly radical development for me.

      I’m assuming the paranoid narrative you are referring to is the theory that Satanists sacrifice children? For me, the danger of this line of reasoning is conceding that abortions are sacrificing children. By shying away from the topic of abortion as a Satanic act for fear of criticism, we concede the argument that it might be child sacrifice. The best way to counter the child sacrifice myth is to not sacrifice children, not shy away from a central issue of TST that has been present for the organization from the beginning.

      Quite frankly, we are Satanists. If we were worried about being villainized for our goals and beliefs, it seems to me the first problem is the “Satanist” part, not the abortion part.

      I’m interviewing the director of the campaign in TST today, and I will ask her for the logic behind the fundraiser. I will also bring up some of the points you addressed here, as a counterpoint.

      As for the legal effectiveness of this particular move, that would be a question for TST’s legal team. This decision probably came out of intensive legal examination and dispute, but that whole process is invisible to me.

      I’d reach out through the official email on the TST website. That is the best and most direct way to get in touch with them.

      Thanks so much for reading, and feel free to engage here anytime. For more direct communication, you are also welcome to email me via my contact page.

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      1. Thank you, Stephen, for your thorough and thoughtful response. The logic line from Satanism to the use of provocation and offense is very clear to me, but what is more fuzzy is the line from offense to policy change. Shortly after the 2017 presidential inauguration, I attended a lecture by cognitive linguist (and policy wonk) George Lakoff. One of his main points was that the use of arguments that attempt to counter a deeply held narrative – either conscious or unconscious – only serves to activate it, rather than cause the belief-holder question it. So, I suppose, the questions that would bring me clarity on the point of policy change would be: Is this simply a ploy to rile the fundies? Or, is there is a different target audience that this campaign is intending to reach, who are they, and what specific actions are these strategies hoping to influence? Very much looking forward to hearing your interview! And, again, thank you for the response!

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      2. That’s a great question. I personally found the interview fascinating, and I think it might address the question you pose above. In short: the abortion ritual isn’t for the right – it’s to provide support, empowerment, and comfort to the Satanists having the abortion. It is about them, first and foremost. Making a point to the Right isn’t the purpose. I’m hoping to release the interview next Wednesday.

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