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Judge dismisses Satanic Temple lawsuit aiming to block Indiana abortion ban

The southern exterior of the federal courthouse in downtown Indianapolis.
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
Federal Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson dismissed a Satanic Temple lawsuit against Indiana's abortion ban because she said the temple lacked standing to bring the suit.

An attempt by the Satanic Temple to block Indiana’s near-total abortion ban so it could provide mail-order abortion drugs was dismissed by a federal judge this week.

Attorney General Todd Rokita’s victory in federal district court came after the suit was filed last year.

The Satanic Temple’s lawsuit argued that the state’s abortion ban violated multiple provisions of the U.S. Constitution: the 14th Amendment (by discriminating against some of its members who become pregnant unintentionally in favor of members who become pregnant because of rape or incest), the 13th Amendment (by forcing the conditions of slavery on its members), and the Fifth Amendment (by “taking” its members’ uteruses).

It also alleged that the law violated Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act by stopping its members from performing the “Satanic abortion ritual.”

READ MORE: Remembering RFRA – Do businesses have the same influence now?

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The court’s dismissal didn’t get into any of those arguments.

The temple refused to name any of its members or its leadership in the lawsuit, arguing it was for their protection. But Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said without being able to show whether any of its members are actually being harmed by the ban, the temple doesn’t have grounds to bring the lawsuit.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.