Magazine article American Libraries

Rust Decision Threatens Libraries, ALA's Krug Tells Senate Panel

Magazine article American Libraries

Rust Decision Threatens Libraries, ALA's Krug Tells Senate Panel

Article excerpt

ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Director Judith Krug was among those testifying on the First Amendment implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's Rust v. Sullivan decision before a Senate subcommittee July 30. The May 23 ruling upheld federal regulations barring federally funded family planning clinics from providing information on abortion.

Krug told the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution that the amici curiae brief filed in the case by ALA and other organizations pointed out that if the Department of Health and Human Services can prohibit doctors and health professionals from providing abortion information, "despite the tradition in these professions of unfettered expression of professional judgment in the patient's best interest, then government may also prohibit libraries and other institutions dependent upon federal public funding from making that same information available in material maintained in library shelves." She noted that since virtually all libraries in the country receive some sort of federal funds, the Rust decision puts their traditional services in "profound danger."

Another disturbing feature of Rust, said Krug, is the Supreme Court's "seemingly cavalier attitude toward the First Amendment rights of poor people to receive information. …

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