Pro-life group sues Wisconsin library after refusal to allow Blood Money screening
WASAU, Wisconsin, March 30, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A local chapter of the 40 Days for Life campaign is suing a Wisconsin county and library director after the latter cancelled a screening for a pro-life movie because pro-abortion activists threatened to disrupt the event.
Three members of 40 Days for Life Wasau are suing Marathon County Public Library Director Ralph Illick, as well as Marathon County and other officials, for censorship after they revoked permission at the last minute for the group to host a screening of the film Blood Money on library premises April 3. Illick cited a Facebook group calling on pro-abortion protesters to picket the screening as reason for the cancellation.
The film, which exposes the monetary motivations behind the abortion industry, has previously been shown across the country in multiple screenings.
Lawyers with the pro-life public interest law firm Thomas More Society (TMS) argued that the library’s decision grants naysayers a “heckler’s veto” that would “legitimate the censorship and suppression of another citizen’s opposite viewpoint.”
“Regardless of whether Mr. Illick’s speculation that protests may occur is probable ... it offers no legal justification for blatant censorship and suppression of free speech,” wrote TMS attorney Peter Breen on behalf of 40 Days, in a letter to defendants signed by three other TMS lawyers.
According to the Wasau Daily Herald, Marathon County Corporation Counsel Scott Corbett responded by saying the library director had authority to cancel events that would impede the library’s normal operations.