A pro-life group has filed a lawsuit against an Indiana-based bus company for barring an ad featuring three images of a baby due to it being labeled "political."
Tippecanoe County Right to Life filed the suit against the Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation, also called CityBus, on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
TC Right to Life is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm that has won multiple cases at the United States Supreme Court level.
The lawsuit argued that by rejecting the ad, CityBus engaged in "government discrimination against protected speech due to the viewpoint expressed."
"By rejecting TCRTL's educational ad while accepting other educational ads and ads that are explicitly political, CityBus violated TCRTL's constitutional rights and discriminated against TCRTL by denying it equal access to CityBus's advertising forum," read the complaint.
"TCRTL asks this Court to require CityBus to allow TCRTL's educational ad on its buses and to declare that certain provisions of CityBus's Advertising Policy violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments."
ADF Legal Counsel Samuel Green said in a statement released Monday that while an "unborn baby's humanity is a scientific fact" nevertheless "even debatable 'political viewpoints' can't be silenced by government officials whenever they dislike them."
"When the government creates an opportunity for advertising on countless topics, it cannot unreasonably single out life-affirming, educational messages for censorship. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all people, regardless of their beliefs," stated Green.
The ad in question features the photos of three babies, two of which are in the womb while the other is a newborn. The first photo, a sonogram, included the statement "Me." The second had the caption "Me, again" while the newborn photo had the caption "Still Me."
In April, the Canadian city of Lethbridge decided to remove pro-life ads on their buses, benches, and bus shelters that included the messages "Preborn Babies Feel Pain" and "Say No to Abortion."
According to a Canadian Press story, the Lethbridge bus ads were removed following an outcry from the local community, including over 100 emails.
"After reviewing comments from city residents, the City of Lethbridge has made an administrative decision to remove pro-life advertisement from Lethbridge Transit buses, shelters and benches due to adverse community reaction," stated the City of Lethbridge on Twitter.