Skip to content

Pa. school district lifts ban on ‘Abortion is not Healthcare’ T-shirt after ADF lawsuit

ADF attorneys secure favorable settlement on behalf of middle school student ordered to remove shirt on day of President’s public school address

SCRANTON, Pa. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund have secured a favorable settlement with the West Shore School District on behalf of a middle school student who was ordered to remove a T-shirt donning the message “Abortion is not Healthcare.”

“Public schools should not censor pro-life students for their views,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “School district officials have done the right thing in recognizing this young man’s First Amendment right to express his beliefs. We commend the revision of their unconstitutional policies so that students can engage in free speech protected by the First Amendment.”

After ADF attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court against the district last year, a consent order issued by the court freed the student to wear pro-life and/or religious T-shirts while the case progressed. School officials have now agreed to a settlement that changes the district’s problematic policies.

The student wore his shirt to express his religious viewpoint on abortion at Crossroads Middle School in Lewisberry on the day of President Obama’s nationwide public address to students last September. This was done without incident until his fifth period teacher sent him to the principal’s office to see whether his shirt was “appropriate.” While there, he was ordered to remove his shirt on the grounds that “it might insult somebody.” The student was then sent to the nurse’s office, where he had to turn his shirt inside out because he had no other shirt to wear. Despite this strict enforcement, the school routinely allowed other students to wear a wide variety of messages on their clothing.

Because the district revised its restrictive policy, ADF attorneys filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit, E.B. v. West Shore School District, with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Wednesday. Independence Law Center Chief Counsel Randall Wenger, one of more than 1,600 attorneys in the ADF alliance, assisted with the case.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

Related Profiles

David A. Cortman
David A. Cortman
Senior Counsel, Vice President of U.S. Litigation
David A. Cortman serves as senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom.