by Steven Ertelt
January 20, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Two groups backing abortion have filed a lawsuit against the Bush administration over revisions the Park Service is making to the video shown at the Lincoln Memorial. The video came under fire from pro-life advocates for showing a montage of rallies and protests that included a demonstration in favor of abortion.
People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday claiming the Bush administration is illegally withholding information about the revision.
The suit asks the National Park Service to release documents demonstrating that officials were only changing the video to meet objections by pro-life advocates.
The Park Service announced in November 2003 that it was changing the video that has been running at the memorial since 1995.
Both groups requested documents from the agency after learning changes would be made.
According to the groups, in January 2004, the agency released press reports and copy of the current videotape but denied the groups additional information. The organizations appealed the decision not to release more information to the Department of the Interior, which has taken no action on their complaint.
" One of the basic tenets of democracy is that decisions are made in an open and transparent manner. If the Bush Administration wants to rewrite history on the basis of ideology then it should stand up and say so," said PFAWF president Ralph G. Neas.
The groups say the Park Service has spent $200,000 making two different revisions to the video.
The first is a complete revision of the video and the second makes minor changes to the existing one with new stock footage of events at the Lincoln Memorial that do not promote abortion.
The new video was scheduled to be completed months ago, but it has not yet received approval from Assistant Interior Secretary Craig Manson.
In 2003, pro-life Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) pressured the Park Service to change the video.
In a letter to the National Park Service last February, Tiahrt objected to the portions of the video that depicts 16 seconds of footage from a NARAL pro-abortion rally.
Some of the visuals included signs and banners reading "National Organization for Women," "I Had An Illegal Abortion In 1967 – Never Again," "Keep Abortion Legal," and "I Am Pro-Choice America."
Pro-life groups say a call from the White House may have prompted changes to the video as well.
Throughout the controversy, the original video continues to be played at the Lincoln Memorial.
Related web sites:
Lincoln Memorial – https://www.nps.gov/linc