Operation Rescue director Troy Newman, who is also a board member of the group behind a string of undercover videos exposing the attitudes and processes of US abortion provider Planned Parenthood, has been detained by immigration officials in Melbourne.
Mr Newman flew into Melbourne this morning in spite of the Australian Government’s dramatic cancellation of his visa.
Yesterday, Mr Newman posted a video of himself at an airport in Denver being refused passage to Los Angeles en route to Australia for a series of speaking dates organised by Right to Life Australia.
The cancellation was made amid allegations that Mr Newman had called for abortionists to be executed.
Earlier this week, Labor MP Terri Butler wrote to the Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, and pointed to a passage allegedly contained in the 2001 book, Their Blood Cries Out, which Mr Newman co-authored with Fr Frank Pavone:
“In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.”
The Catholic Weekly understands that Mr Newman is opposed to the death penalty (and has sighted correspondence to that effect) and has been unable to procure a copy of the book to confirm the accuracy of the passage and to ascertain its context.
Operation Rescue’s senior policy adviser, Cheryl Sullenger, was vehement in rejecting the allegations, describing them to one media outlet as “viciously false”.
Speaking to Life Site News, she said that the book cited Biblical passages on murder including, from Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.”
But she added, “We stated several times we didn’t advocate violence.”
“We don’t even advocate civil disobedience.”
In other comments, she said Mr Newman had always encouraged peaceful means to promote the pro-life message and affect change.
“Troy and Operation Rescue were the first to denounce the murder of (abortionist) George Tiller [in Wichita, Kansas, in 2009].
“He has worked for years to document abuses within the abortion industry and use that documentation to support complaints to law enforcement and oversight agencies, who we work with to help bring those violating the law to justice.”
Mr Newman was scheduled to speak at the Catholic event, Faith on Tap, tonight, and its organisers have circulated a petition on Twitter that he be allowed to enter the country.
Right to Life Australia told The Catholic Weekly that they were monitoring the situation and would advise other groups and venues as news came to hand.