Tippecanoe County Right to Life sues CityBus over ad refusal

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – An Indiana right-to-life organization is suing Lafayette-based CityBus for rejecting one of its pro-life advertisements. 

Many organizations turn to CityBus for its traveling billboards, but Tippecanoe County Right to Life claims the government-owned bus company does not treat all advertisers equally. 

According to court documents, Tippecanoe County Right to Life in the fall wanted to buy an ad to go on the sides of CityBus vehicles. The sign was supposed to travel the city to educate the public about how a child after birth is biologically the same human that he or she was before birth. 

However, CityBus rejected the ad and said it expressed a political viewpoint in violation of the company’s advertising policy. 

But, Right to Life argues, CityBus has allowed this before and cites some previous ads that may also violate that same policy. Those include political ads for Mayor Tony Roswarski, Judge Steven Meyer and IndianaVoters.com. 

Other CityBus ads featured an event regarding Indiana’s health care crisis, controversial HPV vaccinations, and breast-feeding, which has also prompted political action. 

CityBus tried to work with Tippecanoe County Right to Life by suggesting another organization sponsor the ad as well as the removal of the words “Me, Me Again, and Still Me.” 

But, Tippecanoe County Right to Life thought that would defeat the purpose. 

The lawsuit said that at one point CityBus asserted that if it accepted Tippecanoe County Right to Life’s ad, it might have to accept ads from other organizations such as ones that wear hoods and burn crosses. Tippecanoe County Right to Life understood that statement as a reference to the Ku Klux Klan. 

The complaint notes CityBus never disputed or questioned the factual accuracy of Tippecanoe County Right to Life’s ad. 

In conclusion, the lawsuit claims Tippecanoe County Right to Life’s ad is fully protected by the First Amendment. It accuses CityBus of rejecting the ad because of opposition to its message. It wants compensation and a ruling on the matter.