Magazine article American Libraries

Library Ties Trigger Lawsuits

Magazine article American Libraries

Library Ties Trigger Lawsuits

Article excerpt

Planned Parenthood of Central Texas (PPCT) settled a First Amendment lawsuit in late June by covering $5,000 in court costs incurred by the three antiabortion activists who had filed suit against the group in April. The litigation emanated from the plaintiffs being denied admittance to an October 28 event held at PPCT to publicize its new collaboration with the Waco-Mckennan County Public Library (AL, Dec. 2002, p. 29). As a result, the nonprofit group severed its ties to the library in May.

"This case sends the message that if you do a joint project with Planned Parenthood, you are also on the hook," plaintiff attorney Hiram Sasser of the Liberty Legal Institute said in the June 30 Waco Tribune-Herald, adding, "It also says you cannot discriminate against people based on a viewpoint."

The seven-month collaboration between the WMCPL and Planned Parenthood had consisted of the latter's Rapoport Library holdings being added to the library's OPAC and of interlibrary-loan services being extended to visitors of the Planned Parenthood office. "We regret the necessity to end our successful collaboration with the Waco Library System," declared PPCT Executive Director Pam Smallwood May 13, going on to explain that her organization "simply cannot risk placing our patients and staff in jeopardy. …

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