A pro-life advertisement now graces a bus in Lafayette, Indiana, after the local bus company, which had previously banned the ad, agreed to allow it as part of a court settlement.
The Tippecanoe County Right to Life advertisement shows what says is “the scientific truth” about a developing baby.
The three-photo ad now on the side of a CityBus vehicle shows ultrasound images of a developing child with the words “me,” “me, again” and “still me” across each image, the Journal Gazette reported.
A First Amendment victory for the pro-life message! A government-run bus system in Indiana rejected a pro-life advertisement featuring ultrasound pictures and a baby photo. After ADF filed suit, the bus system agreed to run the ad and change their policy!https://t.co/RZuOF69nJn
— The Daily Citizen (@FocusCitizen) March 14, 2019
“We’re very thankful for the result,” Samuel Green, a lawyer with the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, said. The suit allowed the ad to run for 16 months.
“We’re thankful after this litigation period that CityBus has agreed to run the ad that they previously rejected and that those in the Lafayette community are going to be seeing this message that explains the scientific truth that unborn children are just as human as the rest of us. Hopefully, this ad will save lives,” Green said, according to the Journal Courier.
The ad made it to the side of a bus after CityBus settled a suit in U.S. District Court. The bus company had initially claimed that, after it first accepted the ad, it later needed to reject it because it violated a policy that political advertising would not be accepted.
Court documents noted that Martin Sennett, general manager of CityBus, told Kevin Niebrugge, board president of Tippecanoe County Right to Life, that if it accepted the pro-life ad “it might have to accept ads from other organizations — like ones that wear hoods and burn crosses.”
The lawsuit said that prior to rejecting the pro-life ad, CityBus had accepted other advertising that could be called political, including health-related public service announcements and voter registration drives.
“Unfortunately, it’s fairly common to see government entities that are making decisions that are in violation of the First Amendment,” Green said.
“And so, when those situations arise, Alliance Defending Freedom often steps in to ensure individuals and groups’ freedom of speech. This was a situation where we were concerned CityBus had not followed the First Amendment,” he said.
The pro-life victory comes at a time when a push by Democrats to expand abortion access has backfired, causing new support for the pro-life movement.
The bus company followed up its settlement by adopting a new policy.
“The main change made to the policy is to confine advertising on CityBus advertising venues to exclusively those ads which have a commercial purpose,” Jason Ramsland, an attorney representing the bus company, said.
In its lawsuit, the pro-life group said “that it is critical to educate the public about the humanity of unborn children and the harms of abortion.”
The pro-life group said that “one reason abortion is permitted in America is that many people do not understand the scientific truth about the humanity of unborn children.”
Ramsland said it was unclear what would happen to the pro-life ad when the 16-month run ends.
Green said Tippecanoe County Right to Life had no current plans to run more ads on CityBus vehicles.
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