Arizona State University Pro-Life Group Takes Lawsuit to Appeals Court

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 10, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona State University Pro-Life Group Takes Lawsuit to Appeals Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 10
, 2008

Tempe, AZ ( — The pro-life student group at Arizona State University is taking its lawsuit against the college to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The organization filed a lawsuit in July 2006 saying the university censored the group by making it difficult for it to express its views on campus.

The organization says the college made it difficult for it to hold events by forcing it to pay for very expensive insurance and requiring it to go through excessive bureaucratic red tape that other student groups didn’t have to meet.

ASU Students for Life is asking for a court order limiting the university’s ability to effectively prevent the group from holding events on campus.

On Tuesday, attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on behalf of the Students for Life group.

“Pro-life student groups shouldn’t have a price tag placed upon expression of their beliefs,” ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Heather Gebelin Hacker told “Forcing any student group to pay for insurance in order to exercise their right to free speech guaranteed under the First Amendment is unconstitutional.”

After the original lawsuit was filed, Nancy Tribbensee, ASU’s general counsel, disputed the pro-life student group’s claims and said that the organization has held numerous events on campus. She argued the university has done nothing to prevent ASU Students for Life from holding events.

The conflict revolves around a proposed December 2005 event where the organization planned to display 18-foot tall panels that included graphic pictures of abortions and photos of unborn children in various stages of development.

The lawsuit says the pro-life group had to fight with the university over securing the space, paying for insurance and paying extra expenses to deal with a potential lawsuit the college might get over the display.

After the original filing of the lawsuit, ADF’s Hacker said, “It’s not a very big leap of logic to see that they’re kind of making up all these rules as they go along and forcing them against this student group."

“This exhibit is something that administrators don’t want on their campus and they go to any lengths to keep it off,” Hacker said.

But Tribbensee told the East Valley Tribune the requirements for the group’s event had nothing to do with its pro-life views.

“All we did was ask for them to provide insurance because of the very large size of the exhibits that they had,” she told the East Valley newspaper. “We would have done that for everyone. It didn’t matter what it said.”

Related web sites:
ASU Students for Life –
Alliance Defense Fund –