Society

High School Won't Allow Students' Anti-Abortion Club

| by Michael Allen

A high school in Allentown, Pennsylvania, would not allow two students to start a pro-life club, and now the students are lawyering up.

One of the students, Elizabeth Castro, told WFMZ: "Very personal in my heart. My mom told me when she was pregnant with my younger brother she was pushed to have an abortion because she had bladder stones."

Everyday Health does not mention abortion in the treatment of gallbladder stones during pregnancy: "Gallstones are most commonly treated by surgically removing your gallbladder. Depending on your symptoms and risk factors, your doctor may choose to carefully monitor you during pregnancy or go ahead and remove your gallbladder while you are pregnant."

Castro and her classmate Grace Schairer wrote a proposal to start their club and secured a teacher to sponsor it, but they were turned down.

"I was told my club was too controversial and too political," Castro told WFMZ. "I was a little shaken up but I knew exactly what to do and how to get there."

According to Castro and Schairer, they emailed the assistant principal to ask what they needed to do to start their club, but did not get a response.

Castro contacted Students for Life of America, a nationwide pro-life organization, which referred her to the Thomas More Society, a law firm that takes on religious liberty and anti-abortion causes free of charge, according to The Morning Call.

The Chicago-based law firm sent the school district a letter on May 17 that said the denial of the pro-life club violated the Equal Access Act (student's right to create clubs), the First Amendment and the district's own policies.

A district spokesperson said the letter was under review.

"I really hope they make the right decision, if they don't, we're gonna have to look into more possibilities and options," Castro added, according to WFMZ.

Jocelyn Floyd, a lawyer for the Thomas More Society, told The Morning Call: "The law is clear and the lawyers know it. The school administrators are the ones who don't always understand what the obligations are under the law."

Vic Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, also believes the high school violated the Equal Access Act.

According to Castro, more than 20 students want to join her pro-life club, which she dubbed "Trojans for Life."

"The school is not only denying our right to start a group but also denying the opportunity for others at our school to learn about the greatest human rights social injustice of our time," she told The Christian Post.

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said schools have been known to obstruct Students for Life clubs:

The high school students we work with are passionate defenders of life and, oftentimes, their schools put up unnecessary and unconstitutional obstacles when they try to start Students for Life clubs.

The school's baseless claim that the club would be too "controversial" and "political" is a common excuse we hear – and it's always infringing on the First Amendment rights of pro-life students, treating them as second-class citizens because they happen to want to educate their peers on the horrors of abortion and help pregnant and parenting students at their school.

Hawkins made news in January when she told MSNBC that birth control pills should be illegal, reports Raw Story.

Sources: WFMZ, Everyday Health, The Christian Post, The Morning CallRaw Story / Photo Credit: Anna Levinzon/Flickr

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