TV Station Fires Anchor Because She’s Pro-Life, Gathered Signatures to Ban Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Oct 4, 2022   |   3:24PM   |   Lincoln, Nebraska

A Nebraska news station fired a journalist from her job this month because she participated in a campaign to end abortions in her town.

The McCook Gazette reports Melanie Standiford was a news director and co-anchor at KNOP-TV in North Platte, Nebraska, for five years before she was fired this month. KNOP-TV is part of Gray Television, which owns more than 100 news stations across the country.

According to the report, Standiford, who is pro-life and has nine children, lost her job after her bosses found out that she was helping to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance in her hometown of Curtis. The ordinance would protect unborn babies by banning abortions within city limits.

Shannon Booth, general manager for the station, told the North Platte Bulletin that their journalists are not allowed to “actively engage in any political activity for any candidate, party or ballot initiative.”

KNOP-TV apparently found out about Standiford’s pro-life actions last week when another news outlet mentioned her name in an article about Curtis and other Nebraska cities that are working to pass Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances. According to the article, Standiford helped to gather signatures on a petition to bring the pro-life ordinance for a vote.

Here’s more from the report:

Standiford told the Bulletin that she is pro-life but has taken pains to report the issue without bias.

She said she agreed in early August to circulate a petition in her church in Curtis for those who wanted to sign. She said many church members signed as well as at another church in Curtis. Within days, 47 people signed, the Bulletin reported.

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A leading pro-life advocate was upset by the news.

“By firing Standiford for circulating a petition in her church, Standiford’s employer is sending a strong message to Nebraskans who wish to participate in the citizen initiative process: If you like your job, don’t even try it,” Mark Lee Dickson, director of Right To Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, told

He said Standiford is currently in discussions with the Thomas More Society about her path forward.
“This is disturbing for several reasons, first and foremost, it is just not legal. The Nebraska Statutes, which all employers must abide by, state, ‘Any person who (1) coerces or attempts to coerce any of his or her employees in their voting or in any other political action at any caucus, convention, or election held or to be held in this state or (2) attempts to influence the political action of his or her employees by threatening to discharge them because of their political action . . . shall be guilty of a Class IV felony.

“What we all need to remember here is that news station’s policies do not trump the Nebraska Statutes,” Dickson said.

In November, Nebraskans in Curtis, Arnold, Paxton, Hershey, Brady and Wallace will have the opportunity to vote on Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances that protect unborn babies from abortions in their communities.

While each ordinance differs slightly, they all recognize that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law. Generally, each ordinance would make it unlawful for anyone to perform an abortion or “knowingly aid or abet an abortion” in the city. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Abortion practitioners could be penalized for aborting unborn babies, but the ordinance would not penalize women who seek or have abortions.

To-date, 51 cities in Nebraska, Texas and Ohio have adopted ordinances that outlaw the killing of unborn babies in abortions within city limits. One in Lubbock, Texas, which voters approved in 2021, forced a Planned Parenthood to stop aborting unborn babies in the city.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, 15 states now protect unborn babies from abortion, and eight more are fighting in court to do so.

Abortions are still legal in Nebraska. In August, Gov. Pete Ricketts said he wants to ban abortions and “affirm the rights of preborn babies and to support pregnant women, children, and families in need.” However, he said the state legislature currently does not have enough votes to pass legislation to limit or ban abortions.

ACTION ALERT: To complain about the firing, contact KNOP and also Contact Gray Television.