Court Denies Anti-Abortion Giveaways in School

rubber fetus
(Think Progress)

By: Rachel Pulaski

A group of 5 anti-abortion students in Roswell, New Mexico gave their fellow high school students a model rubber fetus to teach and promote fetal awareness.  The teachers claimed that the students’ behavior was too disruptive, so the school prohibited further distribution.  A Federal Appeals Court ruled  that the students’ disruptive behavior outweighed the group’s 1st amendment rights, and the school’s actions were, therefore, constitutional.

Think Progress reported:

So rubber fetuses legitimately disrupted these schools’ learning environments, and the school administration had a way of shutting that whole thing down. After school officials ordered the student groups to stop distributing the fetuses, several students involved in the groups sued the school, claiming they had a First Amendment right to distribute these rubber toilet-cloggers to their fellow students.

On Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit disagreed. As the unanimous court explained, a school may limit student speech when it reasonably forecasts such speech would “‘would materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in operation of the school,’ or ‘impinge upon the rights of other students.’” In this case, school officials didn’t just forecast substantial disruption from the rubber fetuses, they watched it unfold.

As the court emphasized, it would have been unconstitutional for the school to outright forbid discussion of abortion, so long as that discussion was carried on in a non-disruptive way.

Daily Caller has more.


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