February 17, 2023

Federal Museums Apologize for Pro-Life Censorship

On Jan 20, 2023, a group of Catholic high school students and their chaperones were kicked out of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for wearing clothing with pro-life messages. 

The students traveled from Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenville, South Carolina to Washington D.C. to attend the annual National March for Life. Among other pro-life attire, the group wore matching blue beanies with the words "Rosary PRO-LIFE." Staff at the federally-operated museum told the group that they must remove their hats or leave the premises. When the students refused to do so, staff escorted them out of the museum.

The American Center for Law and Justice, representing the parents of some of the students involved, alleged that staff mocked and swore at the students while claiming that the museum was a "neutral zone" where political or religious messages were prohibited.

In a similar dispute, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by four March for Life participants. These advocates were told to remove or cover clothing with pro-life messages while visiting the National Archives Museum.

On Feb 14, the NARA filed a proposed consent agreement to settle the lawsuit by giving the pro-life advocates private tours and apologizing to them in person.

Both institutions have issued public apologies and admitted to violating the pro-lifers' first amendment rights.