The apparent lack of familiarity with basic First Amendment rights on the part of college administrators continues to raise the ire of pro-lifers. Most recently, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County tried to push around pro-life students, and now the students are fighting back with a lawsuit in U.S. District Court.
Pro-Life Students Sue U. of Maryland-Baltimore County
The school’s Rock for Life club says campus officials prevented it from accessing the same public space other student groups can use.
[Alliance Defense Fund] Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden [said in a statement]:
“In this case, university officials are using an unconstitutional ‘speech code’ to censor and marginalize these students, even though these zones directly violate the First Amendment. America’s colleges and universities should recognize the constitutional rights of pro-life students just as they do for other students.”
The case involves an April 17, 2007 incident involving UMBC student Alexander Vernet who had reserved space for the pro-life group to put up an abortion display.
University officials originally approved the request to set up in front of the University Center for the highest exposure.
Later, the University’s Office of Student Life informed Vernet it unilaterally moved the display to a patio area of the Commons building. Vernet reluctantly accepted the change even though it meant fewer students would see the pro-life display.
When the group began to assemble the display on April 30, a university official, backed by campus police, ordered the students to move it to a large vacant field between the Commons and the library, an area where few students would ever see it.
University police cited the speech zone policy, which allows school officials to “move an event to a different location without notice” as rationale for relocating the display.
The policy also prevents any speech that “creat[es] an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment.”
“The university has clearly set up a system that allows them to restrict speech with which they disagree,” said Aden.
“We hope this lawsuit will restore a true ‘marketplace of ideas’ on campus so all groups, including pro-life groups, can enjoy the same access to exercise their First Amendment right,”
One Year of Legal Abortion in Mexico: 6400 Dead Babies and 8 Dead Mothers
Jorge Serrano Limón, president of the Mexican National Pro-Life (Provida) Committee, told the local press on April 4 that he had information proving the recent deaths of eight women due to legal abortions, according to a report by Spero News.
“We have the information, dates, and hospitals where they died; the authorities will only recognize the underage girl who died in Balbuena Hospital,” said Limón.
The girl Limón referred to was 15-year-old Vianney “N,” who died in Balbuena Hospital from a hemorrhage incurred when her baby was being sucked out of her by the aspiration method of abortion. The abortion was a legal abortion, but several violations of the health codes and negligence by physicians led to her death.
According to Serrano Limón, his organization has saved 3,100 children from abortion since May of last year. He reports the latest statistics every three months to the bishops. He also commented that the bishops were “indignant” over the total number of abortions that had occurred in less than one year, according to El Economista.
According to Provida, 6,400 abortions have been performed in Mexico since abortion’s legalization in the Federal District in April 2007. 22 women have been injured and 8 have died as a result of abortion treatments since then.
Pope Benedict XVI Speaks on the Lasting Damage of Abortion and Divorce
We anticipate with great eagerness our Holy Father’s visit to the United States next week, and pray that many in our midst will be inspired by the charity and courage he has so exemplified during his tenure as the Vicar of Jesus Christ to desire a closer relationship with Our Lord for themselves.
Speaking recently in Rome at an international congress, Pope Benedict emphasized the need for the Church to offer the “comfort of the Gospel of mercy” to those experiencing the consequences of divorce and abortion.
Sketching a cultural context marked by individualism, hedonism, and often minimal social support, the Pope pointed out that although it is a matter of “grave sins,” the Church must not forget to always offer the comfort of the Gospel of mercy.
In fact, he acknowledged, it is “human freedom” that, “faced with the difficulties of life, is led in its fragility to painful decisions.” The Holy Father added that these decisions often conflict with the respect that is due to human life or the indissoluble conjugal pact.
“The Church,” the Pontiff said, “has the primary duty of approaching these persons with love and delicacy, with maternal care and attention, to announce the merciful nearness of God in Jesus Christ.”
“He is in fact, as the Fathers teach, the true Good Samaritan, who has become our neighbor, who pours oil and wine on our wounds and who brings us to the inn, the Church, in which he cares for us, entrusting us to her ministers and paying in person beforehand for our healing.” …
Referring to the wound of abortion, the Holy Father addressed an exhortation to women who bear this wound in their soul, taking his inspiration from the encyclical “Evangelium Vitae”: “Do not let yourselves be consumed by discouragement and do not abandon hope. Know how to understand, rather, that which has happened and interpret it in its truth.
“If you have not already done so, open yourselves with humility and confidence to repentance: The Father of all mercy awaits you to offer you his forgiveness and his peace in the sacrament of Reconciliation. You can offer your child to the same Father and his mercy.”
“Only in the attitude of merciful love,” Benedict XVI concluded, “can we draw near and bring succor and allow the victims to stand up and return to the journey of existence.”