In a resounding win for pro-life Americans, a battle against what seemed like a brazen violation of First Amendment rights has concluded with a victory.
The legal victory comes weeks before thousands of pro-lifers converge on Washington, D.C., for the 2024 March for Life.
Once again, the pro-life movement proves they will not be silenced.
Visitors to the “March for Life” in 2023, a pivotal annual event protesting the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, found themselves at the center of controversy when denied entry to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) due to their pro-life apparel.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) swiftly came to the defense of the aggrieved visitors, revealing that they were instructed to either remove or conceal clothing adorned with pro-life messages.
The startling claim was that such political attire was deemed “disturbing the peace” and had the potential to “incite others.”
One particularly egregious incident involved a visitor being asked to cover up a shirt reading, “MARCH 4 LIFE 2014: Saint Cecilia’s Youth Group, Glen Carbon, IL.”
The ACLJ, a stalwart legal defender of Christian values, took NARA to task by filing a lawsuit on behalf of the pro-life attendees.
A triumphant settlement, announced on December 19, where NARA agreed to pay $10,000 to the three plaintiffs, covering attorney fees and additional legal expenses.
The victory, however, extends beyond financial compensation.
NARA, in response to the incident, provided additional training to its employees and security officers, pledging to prevent such infringements on First Amendment rights in the future.
Furthermore, a consent order was agreed upon in February, explicitly stating that visitors cannot be barred from wearing attire displaying protest language, including religious and political speech.
Jordan Sekulow, the executive director of ACLJ, emphasized the timeliness of this triumph.
With the 2024 March for Life looming, the settlement ensures that pro-life advocates can freely exercise their rights without fear of harassment when visiting the National Archives.
Sekulow underscored the significance of the victory, stating, “Our victory today ensures that they will be free from harassment and that their First Amendment rights will be protected should they choose to visit the National Archives and view the very documents that protect those sacred rights.”
The National Archives, in response to the lawsuit, had issued an apology for the incident, acknowledging that the security officer’s actions were in violation of NARA policy.
The symbolic weight of this transgression occurring within the walls housing foundational civil rights documents like the Constitution and Bill of Rights was not lost on the agency.
The repercussions did not stop at apologies; the security officer involved was dismissed earlier this year, underscoring the severity of the violation.
It wasn’t an isolated incident either; during the same event, Catholic high school students were ejected from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for donning beanies adorned with pro-life messages.
As pro-life Americans gear up for the 2024 March for Life, this legal triumph stands as a testament to the resilience and commitment of those fighting for the sanctity of life.
The settlement ensures that the National Archives remains an open space for all, where First Amendment rights are not just acknowledged but fiercely protected.
This victory reverberates as a clarion call, proclaiming that the pro-life movement will not be silenced, especially when standing on the hallowed grounds of constitutional rights.
Pro-Life Press will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.