Chief Judge David Nye of the Federal District Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Satanic Temple (TST), a self-proclaimed atheist and left-leaning group. The group claimed that Idaho’s ban on the majority of abortions infringes upon their “religious freedom” to perform “ritualistic” abortions.
Idaho’s Defense of Life Act, a law under challenge by the Biden administration, criminalizes abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or alleged necessity to prevent a pregnant woman’s death. Against this backdrop, the TST filed a lawsuit stipulating a First Amendment right to perform “abortion rituals,” aimed at negating feelings of guilt, shame, and mental unease.
However, Judge Nye dismissed the suit “with prejudice” on February 1, prohibiting TST from re-filing it in his jurisdiction. Raúl Labrador, Idaho’s Republican Attorney General, applauded the ruling and committed to defending the rights of the unborn. While the TST presents itself as a group adopting Satan’s name as a metaphoric resistance symbol against arbitrary authority, it has been linked with various left-leaning advocacy activities, such as pro-abortion lawsuits and promoting LGBT “pride.”
The group also organized “After School Satan Clubs” in several school districts across the country, claiming to promote empathy, creative expression, and personal sovereignty among others. However, TST has faced criticism for its adversarial and activist approach, particularly against school religious clubs.