Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Update from Fargo, ND

Earlier this month, we shared a call to action from Students for Life of America (SFLA) on our facebook page. SFLA reported that two Fargo, North Dakota teenagers—Brigid and Katie—wanted to form pro-life clubs at their high schools but were facing a stubborn pro-censorship administration. School officials declared that the proposed clubs were "too controversial" and "put these students through extensive questioning, including inappropriate questions about their religious affiliations." Pro bono lawyers stepped up to advocate for Brigid and Katie's freedom of speech and association. SFLA called on pro-lifers to send messages of support to Brigid and Katie.

Secular Pro-Life's message to these awesome young women was:
Hello Brigid and Katie! This is Kelsey from Secular Pro-Life. I myself didn't get involved in the cause until college. You got a head start on me! SFLA mentioned that school officials have been prying into your religious beliefs; I'm guessing they're part of the "all pro-lifers must be Christian fundamentalists" brigade? Well once your club is approved (and it will be, because you're in great hands!) I would be HONORED to come up and give a presentation about why the right to life matters to people of any faith and no faith—and I'll do it free of charge!!
We recently received an update from SFLA, which includes some more detail on the religious aspect of this mess:
At the end of last week, the Fargo School District answered our letter and said they will now make changes in the way they handle student groups and encouraged Katie and Brigid to submit paperwork to get their group started.
The problem with this response is that it makes it seem like the girls have done something wrong, that they didn't do what was needed, which is not the case. Brigid previously started a Book Club at her high school so she knew exactly what she needed to do when she applied for her Students for Life group.
Katie has been working for more than eight months and Brigid for more than two months to start their Students for Life groups. Never once has "lack of paperwork" been cited in the schools' denials of our groups. The schools always told the students they weren't allowed to be official, not even giving Katie the paperwork to fill out for her group, because they consider being pro-life to be "religious and too controversial." In fact, one of their principals went as far as saying that the scientific fact that "life begins at conception" is simply a religious view and religious views can only be spoken where everyone agrees with them!!!! Outrageous.
The District is hoping that they can play off this denial of constitutional rights because Katie and Brigid are young and seemingly naive. That's just wrong.
Everything about this is wrong, from the unconstitutional denials to the conflicting excuses to the scientifically illiterate high school principal. These schools clearly need pro-life clubs!

We'll continue to pass along information about this story as we receive it.

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