A public library in Wausau, Wisconsin has backed down from censoring a pro-life group’s desire to show the abortion film Blood Money following the threat of a lawsuit from a pro-life legal group.
As LifeNews.com reported, attorneys from the Thomas More Society issued a letter to Marathon County library officials demanding that the library rescind its decision to cancel a showing of a pro-life film. The library was accused of censoring the Wausau “40 Days for Life” group, which wants to show the pro-life documentary, “Blood Money.”
The director of the library, Ralph Illick, had canceled the showing of the movie in one of the library’s “public meeting rooms,” because he determined that the film’s topic – abortion – would “interfere with normal use of our library.”
Today, Thomas More Society attorneys confirmed that Marathon County library officials have agreed to rescind their decision to cancel a showing of the pro-life documentary. Scott Corbett, Marathon County Corporation Counsel, said in a letter to the Thomas More Society, “The library will honor its original commitment.”
The pro-life group filed a lawsuit yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin, federal court that made clear that the library was censoring and suppressing the constitutionally-protected free speech of Wausau 40 Days for Life.
“We are pleased that our client’s right to free speech was vindicated. However, it’s disappointing that a federal lawsuit was necessary to prevent a public library from engaging in censorship,” said Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel for the Thomas More Society. “In the end, the library followed its stated policy that meeting rooms are to be allocated without regard to the beliefs of those using them.”
“Having to demand that a library not engage in censorship is outrageous,” Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel for the Thomas More Society, told LifeNews.com. “The library’s own policy declares that meeting rooms are to be allocated without regard to the beliefs of those using the rooms, but here, the sincerely held religious beliefs of Wausau “40 Days for Life” that all life is sacred has barred this group from use of these purportedly ‘public’ rooms. We stand ready to take immediate legal action if the showing of the film is not allowed.”
In the letter written to Director Illick, Thomas More Society attorneys cited the library’s own “Bill of Rights,” which guarantees that, “VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.”
Contact the library at: https://www.mcpl.us/about/contact/