A Nebraska journalist who was fired for participating in a campaign to end abortions in her small town is speaking out in defense of her reporting work and her pro-life beliefs.
Speaking with the Catholic News Agency, former KNOP-TV news director and co-anchor Melanie Standiford, of Curtis, said she was surprised when her boss fired her earlier this month for “practicing partisan politics.”
“’I don’t believe being pro-life is partisan,’” she remembered telling her boss. “There are people from both sides of the aisle who believe both ways. It’s just right versus wrong in my mind.”
A Christian, Standiford said her boss accused her of violating company policy because she helped to distribute a petition to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance at her church and another church in Curtis. The ordinance would protect unborn babies by banning abortions within the limits of the small town.
“I didn’t think I was being political with that in my home church, sitting in the pews in my church,” she told CNA.
The news station leaders found out about Standiford’s involvement in the effort through an article in another news outlet, the Flatwater Free Press. She said the station fired her a day after the publication of the article.
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Here’s more from the report:
Standiford told CNA that the [Free Press] reporter asked her whether or not it was “ethical” for her as a journalist to collect signatures for the petition.
“I told her, this is in the privacy of my church. This is something that I did, acting as a Christian, in the privacy of my church,” Standiford said, adding that the reporter kept pressing her about ethics.
“Then I said, ‘You’re probably right. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.’ And that’s the only quote she took from me.”
Standiford, an award-winning journalist who worked at KNOP-TV for five years, said she always reported fairly about abortion at her job.
Personally, she said she believes abortion is harmful to both women and children, and her hometown should ban it.
“We want women to be safe; we want them to not have the mental trauma after an abortion that they’ll live with for the rest of their lives,” she told CNA. “People who think that we are hateful and don’t care about women’s rights have it backwards. We just want to love them.”
Standiford said she is discussing her employment situation with attorneys.
In a statement to the North Platte Bulletin, KNOP-TV general manager Shannon Booth said their news reporters are prohibited from engaging in political activities to prevent any appearance of bias.
“Our long-standing company policy encourages civic involvement among our employees, so long as such activities do not give the appearance of interfering with journalistic impartiality,” Booth 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.