Last month, The Satanic Temple announced a new campaign meant to fight back against abortion restrictions throughout the country — especially as the ground collapses under the precedent of Roe v. Wade. The Satanists said that all first trimester abortions must be “exempt from state regulations that hinder access” to the procedure because such hurdles violated two of their Seven Fundamental Tenets regarding bodily autonomy and adherence to best scientific practices.
The idea here is simple: If a Satanist lives in a state where she cannot obtain a legal abortion, she can file a lawsuit and claim she has a religious right to one. By using an argument conservative Christians have used all too successfully, it might be possible to override statewide abortion bans.
Whether that strategy works remains to be seen.
But the folks at The Satanic Temple are nothing if not effective marketers, and last month, they tried to put up eight billboards near “crisis pregnancy centers” in Arkansas and Indiana. Those centers are the deceptive places often run by Christians who try to steer clients away from abortions, so these billboards would’ve been a way to let women know that Satanism could help them circumvent state restrictions and get the abortion they desire.
Before that could happen, though, the Satanists had to submit designs to Lamar Advertising for approval. They ended up submitting four of them.
I love the one at the top that shows a picture of cake batter with the phrase “Not a Cake” while the other side shows a fertilized egg and the phrase “Not a Baby.” Does the Hitler one go too far? Maybe. But provocation is part of what makes The Satanic Temple so effective.
In any case, Lamar Advertising rejected all four designs… without explanation.
Even when pressed, they wouldn’t say what they found objectionable. They just tore up the contract — worth $16,387 for a month’s worth of those billboards.
Now The Satanic Temple has filed a lawsuit against the company saying this was a breach of contract, that Lamar Advertising has accepted designs that are arguably more controversial, and that the company is guilty of religious discrimination.
… TST actually relied in good faith on Lamar’s promise by creating the billboard designs, making every reasonable effort to cure Lamar’s objections, and offering Lamar money.
Notwithstanding its promise, Lamar now refuses to place any form of billboard which advertises TST’s religious abortion ritual.
Injustice has resulted from the refusal. TST cannot communicate the same message to the same audience in the same manner by any other means. Since Lamar has a monopoly on all suitable billboards, TST is deprived of that communication.
While a goes-too-far case could be made against a couple of those designs, the very last one is just words. It’s straightforward. There’s no reason to say no to that.
Ultimately, the Satanists want women to know that they don’t need to be guilt-tripped out of an abortion. The choice is still theirs. And if Republicans get their way and the federal law protecting that right disappears, women should still be able to point to their religion to protect their bodily autonomy.