Melanie Standiford, who has over 20 years of experience in the media industry, was fired on Sept. 30 for allegedly violating company policy. (Related: Journalist calls FBI raid on pro-life activist 'act of terrorism' as politicized Justice Debt. unleashed to target conservatives.)
Standiford, 50 and a mother of nine, was fired after she was quoted in a Flatwater Free Press story about her involvement in a ballot initiative to ban abortions in Curtis, Nebraska, a town of around 800 people.
Curtis is one of six towns where voters will determine the fates of local abortion bans. Standiford helped collect 47 signatures for the ballot initiative at her church by manning a booth with the petition.
She told Flatwater Free Press that everyone in Curtis knows about her religious affiliation and her pro-life beliefs. In her mind, the Curtis ordinance was not controversial and will be widely supported.
KNOP Vice President and General Manager Shannon Booth noted that company policy "encourages civic involvement among our employees, so long as such activities do not give the appearance of interfering with journalistic impartiality. In furtherance of that qualification, KNOP's news personnel are not permitted, at any time and regardless of beliefs, to actively engage in any political activity for any candidate, party or ballot initiative."
Standiford argued that she didn't do anything wrong. Being pro-life, she said, was never one of her "soapbox issues," and her involvement in the ballot initiative consisted of "sitting at a table at my church with the petition."
"This wasn't me saying 'vote this way,'" she said. 'This wasn't me trying to influence anybody."
"I wasn't a journalist that day. I should at least be able to feel safe in my church and with my community without being thought of as Melanie Standiford, News 2."
Regardless of how her involvement was perceived, Standiford said she doesn't regret being open about her beliefs.
"I have zero regrets," she said. "I'm sad about the situation. I'm sad about my [co-workers] at KNOP. I hope everybody is nice to them. This [decision] wasn't them. I'm sad that we live in a world where I can't have a personal life without it being questioned."
In an interview with Jim Hale of LifeSiteNews, Standiford talked about how she has kept her political involvement silent because of her desire to uphold journalistic integrity and remain impartial.
"I have been silent. I have done things in the background," she said. "I marched. I don't think my employers know I marched in Chicago, I marched in Washington, D.C. this year, that was never known. I am able to keep that separate. But I don't have to do that anymore. I get to stand up for what's right. I get to do what God wants us to."
Standiford said she has been contacted by lawyers and is considering what to do next. She refused to sign any company paperwork acknowledging her termination, which cost her a $4,000 severance payment, but also freed her from a possible nondisclosure agreement.
"I've had a lot of lawyers reach out to me and I've had a lot of people tell me that what happened was not fair. I don't know what I am doing [legally]. I don't know."
Learn more about abortion issues at Abortions.news.
Watch Melanie Standiford's interview with Jim Hale of LifeSiteNews as she discusses how she was fired for being pro-life.