Satanic Temple Sues Advertising Company for Refusing to Display Billboards Claiming Abortion is a 'Ritual'

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Friday, October 2, 2020
Hands holding a tiny baby, TST sues advertising company for refusing to display billboards calling abortion a ritual

Satanic Temple Sues Advertising Company for Refusing to Display Billboards Claiming Abortion is a 'Ritual'

The Satanic Temple is suing an advertising company after the business refused to display billboards suggesting abortion is a “ritual”

According to CBN News, the Satanic Temple is suing Lamar Advertising in an Arkansas state court, accusing the company of religious discrimination.

The group says the business will not display eight billboards in Arkansas and Indiana. The billboards describe a ritual as a “sacramental act that confirms the right of bodily autonomy."

If a woman completes the ritual, she may claim a religious exemption from mandatory waiting periods, checkups and counseling that some states require before an abortion.

The billboards were to be displayed near pro-life pregnancy centers.

In one billboard design, a bowl of cake batter is shown with the text, “not a cake.” A second image on the billboard is of a sperm and an egg with the text, “not a baby.”

 "Our religious abortion ritual averts many state restrictions,” the proposed billboard says.

In another proposed billboard, a woman holds a tiny Adolf Hitler with the text, “What if abortion had been an option?”

Again, the design referred to abortion as a ritual.

Lamar rejected the designs, saying they were “misleading and offensive.”

But TST has argued that a Satanic ritual is a religious right that may be exempt from state laws and regulations. 

"TST bases its assertions of abortion mandate exemptions on the protections provided by State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts or RFRA, which generally prohibits the government from substantially interfering with a person's free exercise of religion," TST said in a press release.

“While it is understandable to be concerned with forcing a private entity to engage in speech or conduct it objects to, this scenario is different,” Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said in a news release. “Lamar initially agreed to work with us and their rejection appears to be religiously based.”

TST was founded in 2012 and has more than 300,000 members.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ildar Abulkhanov

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.