LAFAYETTE – An anti-abortion group's advertisement depicting a growing fetus is being allowed on public buses in a northwestern Indiana city following the settlement of a free speech lawsuit.
Court documents filed Monday show Lafayette's public bus service, CityBus, agreed to run Tippecanoe County Right to Life's ad on a bus for up to 16 months, the Journal and Courier reported.
The three-photo ad depicts ultrasound images of a developing fetus with the words “me,” “me, again” and “still me” across each segment.
“We're very thankful for the result,” said Samuel Green, an Arizona-based lawyer representing the group. Green works for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit conservative Christian organization.
Right to Life approached CityBus with the proposed ad in 2017 with the goal of running it where Purdue University students could see it. CityBus rejected the ad, arguing it didn't meet its policy regarding political viewpoints. Right to Life sued CityBus in 2018 for violating its free speech rights, alleging that the company had accepted other political advertising.
CityBus said it is tightening its advertising policy, barring most non-commercial advocacy, public service announcements and political advertising.
“The main change made to the policy is to confine advertising on CityBus advertising venues to exclusively those ads which have a commercial purpose,” said Jason Ramsland, an attorney with law firm Ball Eggleston, which represents the company.
CityBus doesn't plan to comment further on the settlement, Ramsland said.