Published On: Mon, May 11th, 2015

ADF leads battle against Indiana bus system over Women’s Health Ad

Alliance Defending Freedom speaks out following a federal court hearing regarding the Fort Wayne bus system’s refusal to accept an ad from Women’s Health Link, a life-affirming health care referral service for women in need.

ADF attorneys filed a federal lawsuit in April 2014 against Citilink for denying the ad because the city-run bus company said the referral service’s website contains information on “controversial issues.”

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all people, regardless of their political or religious beliefs,” said Scruggs. “City officials cannot censor speech simply because it does not agree with it. Government has a responsibility to ensure that all organizations benefit from community advertising, and that includes Women’s Health Link.”

Women's Health Link ad refused by Fort Wayne Indiana bus systemWomen’s Health Link is a free referral resource for women seeking physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental health care. In November 2013, Women’s Health Link asked to place advertising cards in the interior of Citilink’s buses that contained a picture of a young woman and the tagline “You’re Not Alone” along with the center’s contact information.

The ad is virtually indistinguishable from a United Way ad and health-related government ads that Citilink approved. ADF attorneys argue that the bus system unconstitutionally prohibited Women’s Health Link’s ad because of its life-affirming viewpoint and association with a pro-life group.

“The city’s stated reasons for denying this ad do not pass constitutional muster,” added ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “We hope the court will rule to protect constitutional freedoms, require Citilink to revise its policies, and allow our client’s advertisement.”

  • Fact sheet: Women’s Health Link v. Fort Wayne Public Transportation Corp.
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