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During a hearing for an anti-abortion bill that would effectively ban the procedure across Idaho, two Republican lawmakers suggested that a Satanist who spoke out against the bill supported murder and “blood sacrifice.”

Idaho is on the verge of passing an anti-abortion bill that would effectively ban the procedure in the state. Senate Bill 1309, which already passed in the State Senate, would restrict abortion access as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. That could occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women even know they’re pregnant. (That’s the point.)

Furthermore, the bill would echo the Texas bounty-hunter law by allowing family members of anyone who has an abortion to sue the doctor to the tune of $20,000 or more. The goal is to get abortion providers out of the state entirely, leaving residents more vulnerable.

I bring all this up because the State Affairs Committee in the House held a hearing on this bill Wednesday and Rowan Astra, a non-theistic Satanist, delivered a public comment opposing the legislation. Besides just opposing the bill on its merits, they made the argument that the bill violated their religious freedom (which could potentially be the basis for a future lawsuit). While such testimony won’t derail the Republicans, it’s at least worth mentioning that bodily autonomy is sacred to members of The Satanic Temple. (One of their Seven Tenets says “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”)

But instead of simply nodding and moving on, two lawmakers took cheap shots at Astra’s beliefs themselves.

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After Astra spoke, they took questions from the lawmakers… who didn’t seem prepared at all to talk about the points Astra brought up.

REP. HEATHER SCOTT: … As a Satanist, do you, um, think murder is okay?

ASTRA: I do not believe murder is okay. It is actually a value of ours to hold compassion, empathy for all creatures in accordance with reason. So, no, we do not believe murder is okay.

Not to be outdone, fellow Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri went even further:

BARBIERI: … I’ve got some preconceived ideas about your religion. I’m wondering: Is there any tenet with respect to blood sacrifice?


CHAIRMAN BRENT CRANE: Mr. Barbieri, let’s make sure we keep it to the… focus of the bill… Her religion is not on trial here today.

BARBIERI: What I’m curious about is whether or not there is a tenet with respect to the human sacrifice.

CRANE: Find a way to tie it back to the bill.

BARBIERI: [Pause] … Can’t do that.

CHAIRMAN BRENT CRANE: Okay. Well, let’s keep it to the bill. We’ve gotta maintain order and decorum. No one’s religion’s on trial here. Thank you for your testimony today.

ASTRA: Thank you.

Bragging about your “preconceived notions” that turn out to be wildly untrue, then admitting there’s no relevance to what you’re asking, was not the flex Barbieri seemed to think it was.

@rowanastra Counter-questions regarding my testimony against SB1309. #satanist #religousfreedom #idaho #idaholegislation #idahopolitics #bodilyautonomy #sb1309 ♬ original sound – Rowan O

The bottom line: The Christians whose obsession with fetuses is leading them to sacrifice pregnant women berated a Satanist who wanted to protect them. Whose beliefs are the monstrous ones here?

The lawmakers refused to grapple with anything Astra said, using their time to condemn faux-Satanic views while displaying their own ignorance. They glossed over the religious freedom aspect of Astra’s remarks entirely. And none of it probably matters in the long run because the Republican majority in the state will almost certainly pass this draconian bill that would force women to travel out of state to receive basic medical care (or push them to order the pills by mail).

In case you’re wondering, Heather Scott is a Young Earth Creationist while Vito Barbieri is a self-described “conservative Christian.” Both of them are known for spreading anti-Muslim propaganda.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.