Michigan State professor sued for forcing Christian students to fund abortions

Two Michigan State students are suing a former professor for allegedly forcing them to fund abortions, violating their First Amendment rights.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed the federal lawsuit…

Two Michigan State students are suing a former professor for allegedly forcing them to fund abortions, violating their First Amendment rights.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed the federal lawsuit Thursday against the professor and the university on behalf of sophomores Nathan Barbieri and Nolan Radomski.

“My money is in the hands of Planned Parenthood,” Barbieri told Fox news Digital in an interview. “For me, as a Christian, it’s our calling. We’re supposed to expose the bad things that happen and not just sit back and… be abused.”

Their professor, Amy Wisner, allegedly told her 600 students to pay a $99 fee to join a group she created, ‘The Rebellion Community’. According to the suit, she may have collected as much as $59,400 in membership fees.

Wisner uses the membership fees to finance her own political advocacy, stating in a deleted Facebook post that 100% of the membership fees are donated to Planned Parenthood. 

“The Rebellion community is a safe place to coordinate our efforts to burn everything to the f—ing ground,” Wisner wrote. “100% of membership fees are donated to Planned Parenthood.” 

Despite the apparent admission, the lawsuit alleges Wisner may not have donated all the money to Planned Parenthood, but instead used the money to buy an RV to travel around the world for The Rebellion RV Tour. 

However the money was used, the suit argues Wisner’s actions violated Barbieri’s and Radomski’s religious freedom. 

“Nathan and Nolan simply want to get a business degree without being compelled to pay membership fees that will be donated to Planned Parenthood or support speech that directly contradicts their religious beliefs,” ADF said in a statement. “Michigan State officials have violated the First Amendment and federal civil rights laws by authorizing professors to force students to support speech antithetical to their deepest values and faith.” 

A university spokesperson confirmed that Wisner is no longer employed at the school and has refunded students their $99.  

However, Barbieri says the university picking up the tab isn’t enough.  

“I funded that,” Barbieri said. “And until that money is brought back, until it is out of [the professor’s] hands, it’s still with Planned Parenthood, or it’s still going towards an unethical organization.” 

ADF is also asking the professor to reimburse the students money, the university to change their policies, as well as compensation for unspecified damages and the attorney fees to be reimbursed. 

The university claims it doesn’t currently have a policy that addresses Wisner’s actions. 

Interim Dean of Michigan State University Judith Whipple said Wisner’s class was reviewed not because it violated the handbook but because of the students’ complaints.  

Whipple, a named defendant in the suit, explained that the university refunded the fee to the students not because it was a violation of the university policy but because “this material will no longer be required for the course” now that it was taught by a different professor.  

However, the suit takes issue with the policies that allowed the subscription requirement to be made. 

“The policies grant instructors the right to determine course content, grading, and classroom procedures and to determine what materials are ‘required,’ and ‘what must be purchased,’ including ‘Internet sites’ or ‘Subscriptions,’” the suit states. “Such materials may include materials that generate ‘payments’ for the instructors, and instructors are ‘encouraged’ (but not required) to ‘donate’ the proceeds to a ‘charity or fund’ which (in the instructor’s sole estimation) ‘would benefit students.’” 

The lawsuit was filed May 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division.