Students for Life Wins First Amendment Fight at University of Alabama
On Monday, the University of Alabama apologized to Bama Students for Life (SFL), reversing its decision to remove the pro-life group’s display on campus because an administrator deemed it “offensive.”
According to a press release, the university stated that Bama SFL will be permitted to set up their pro-life display on campus once again.
Carl Bacon, Assistant to the Vice President for Collaboration and Director of Ferguson Center Student Union, sent the following email to Bama SFL:
Dear Bama Students for Life,
Please accept my apology that your display was removed without your knowledge two days before your reserved time expired. You have two options available to you to complete your 30-day reservation. The same display case will be available for two days starting February 22nd, or the case between the SGA office and the office of the Dean of Students is available this week for two days. Please let me know which option you would like to choose.
On Wednesday, Students for Life of America’s (SFLA) Campus Advisor and Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, will arrive in Tuscaloosa to speak on campus about the case and will assist Bama SFL in the set-up of its display.
As Breitbart News reported February 12th, university administrator Donna Lake had removed the pro-life display, which features abortion-related facts, photos of women who died as a result of abortion, and two small pictures of aborted babies, claiming that according to “policy,” displays cannot be “offensive” or “graphic.” Lake told Bama SFL President Claire Chretien that her group was “lucky” to have been allowed to have the display up for as long as it did.
Kristan Hawkins, president of SFLA, commented in the press statement:
Today is an historic victory for pro-life students nationwide. Because of the courage of Bama Students for Life and the dedication of grassroots pro-life activists across America, the University of Alabama has apologized for censoring our constitutional rights. This should be a clear lesson for universities across the nation - pro-life students will not tolerate unjust actions and censorship because of our beliefs.
“The majority of Americans, as well as college students, are pro-life,” added Hawkins. “Our beliefs are not only here to stay, but they are in the majority. It is this generation, lead [sic] by revolutionary leaders like those in Bama Students for Life, who will make abortion a thing of the past very soon.”
“Bama Students for Life is very grateful to the University of Alabama for correcting this injustice,” said Chretien. “We are thrilled that the University was so willing to right this wrong so that all students will be able to continue exercising our free speech rights.”
“Universities should be a marketplace of ideas where the First Amendment and free speech are embraced as students are openly encouraged to share and discuss their views and opinions in the public square,” Rev. Mahoney said. “In light of this, it was especially troubling that the University of Alabama initially censored and discriminated against the free speech rights of pro-life students.”
“While we are grateful that university officials reversed their position and apologized to Bama Students for Life, it is a stark reminder that pro-life speech and the First Amendment continue to be under attack on America's universities and colleges,” added Mahoney. “I commend Bama Students for Life for refusing to be intimidated into surrendering their First Amendment rights and standing up to ensure their thoughts and beliefs would be freely heard at the University of Alabama."