Welcome to the Thursday edition of Internet Insider, where we explore identities online and off. Today:
- The Satanic Temple demands access to abortion pills under religious exemption in viral letter
- Self-care: The numbers are in—and mental health is taking a hit
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The Satanic Temple demands access to abortion pills under religious exemption in viral letter
The Satanic Temple announced online Thursday that it demanded the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grant the group access to drugs that induce abortion “without being subjected to the agency’s regulations.”
In particular, the temple is requesting access to Misoprostol and Mifepristone—also known as the abortion pills to terminate an unwanted pregnancy—under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Its letter to the FDA came the same day that the Supreme Court upheld a Texas law that prohibits abortions after six weeks.
The Satanic Temple is a non-theistic religious group focused on secularism and individual liberties based on 18th-century Enlightenment values.
In pursuit of a religious exemption to access abortifacients, or drugs that induce abortion, The Satanic Temple website details that its lawyers have contacted the FDA. The temple aims to raise 200,000 to cover its legal costs throughout its “continued effort to preserve religious reproductive rights.”
In a phone interview with the Daily Dot, co-founder of the temple, Lucien Greaves, said the temple has litigated in defense of religious reproductive rights before in Missouri and Texas.
“We were fighting against restrictions upon abortion access before yesterday’s almost all-out ban of abortion in Texas,” Greaves told the Daily Dot. The temple has an ongoing lawsuit in Texas.
Greaves explained that in August 2020, the temple ritualized the process of getting an abortion for its members in response to the emotional need of congregants and increasingly prohibitive abortion legislation nationwide.
In addition to requiring a medical examination to ensure that an abortion won’t be a danger to a member’s health, the ritual involves counseling before and after the procedure. Greaves said counseling focuses on the member’s personal ethical values and the temple’s tenets, which emphasize the importance of science and personal freedom.
“We respect their choice,” said Greaves. “And we respect their decision as being the most valid decision within this process.”
Because abortion is part of one of the temple’s religious rituals, the group feels that the government should not be able to interfere with its religious practices beyond medical mandates. Thus, it requests abortifacients for its rituals in accordance with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Satanic Temple is hoping that under this law, courts will rule it can administer abortion pills despite bans because abortions are a religious practice for the temple.
“It’s easy to look at the political circumstances now and see that as simply opportunistic on our part,” Greaves told the Daily Dot. “But the political battles over abortion simultaneously make this legitimately a more important issue in regards to our religious liberty.”
–Tricia Crimmins, contributing writer
The numbers are in—and mental health is taking a hit
It’s obvious that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on mental health; that’s, of course, a large part of the inspiration of this self-care column. But more than a year after COVID-19 became a household word, the less visible affects of the pandemic are more concrete.
The University of Phoenix Career Institute shared with me the results of an online survey taken by 5,000 U.S. adults about work stress and mental health. The conclusions reflect some of the hard truths about how we feel amid the pandemic—and the optimism getting us through it. Here’s what the numbers tell us:
- 51% say the pandemic has negatively impacted their work-life balance.
- 34% say their mental health has negatively impacted their work performance during the pandemic.
- 33% have looked for mental health resources to help them manage work related stress.
- 44% fear losing their jobs due to the economy, with women, Black, Latinx, Asian, and young adults shouldering much of the concern.
- Still, 70% answered affirmatively that “hope has helped get them through the past year.”
Though some of the results may seem grim—and likely unsurprising—the takeaway is that self-care and community are as important as ever.
–Kris Seavers, IRL editor