Isabell v. Trustees of Indiana University

From August 2019 to March 2020
Indiana University South Bend (Public college or university)
South Bend, IN, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Cynthia Isabell

    Cynthia Isabell was an adjunct obstetrics instructor at Indiana University South Bend.


Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
  • Incident Political Orientation:
  • Incident Responses:
  • Incident Status:
  • No protest Occured
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


Cynthia Isabell was an adjunct obstetrics instructor at Indiana University South Bend (IUSB). On August 12, 2016—12 days after she was hired by IUSB—she published an article online entitled “How a Formerly Pro-Choice Nursing Instructor Discusses Abortion with her Students.” The main topic of Isabell’s article was how she uses science, particularly anatomy, physiology and logical reasoning, when she discusses the controversial issue of abortion with her students.

In January, 2017, Isabell applied for the full-time position of Instructor of Obstetrics, the same course she was already teaching at the request of IUSB since November 2016. During the interview, one of the interviewers asked questions which led Isabell to believe that she had read and was familiar with her internet article. Isabell was informed in late February 2017 that she was not hired for the position.

In May 2018, Isabell filed a complaint with the United District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, alleging that the university had retaliated against her for her views on abortion in violation of the First Amendment, Indiana’s Conscience Statute, and Indiana’s Constitution. On March 11, 2020, the Court dismissed the action with prejudice under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(ii).