Why are we so afraid of an anti-abortion activist?

Troy Newman, head of the Kansas-based Operation Rescue, holds an anti-abortion sign outside his headquarters housed in a closed abortion clinic in Wichita, United States.. Picture: AP Photo
October 4, 2015 12:00am
 
SO AUSTRALIA has become one of those countries that ban people whose views are not acceptable to the feminist establishment, and then locks them up.
This is the stunningly illiberal position of the new Turnbull government which banned American anti-abortion campaigner Troy Newman from coming to Australia last week.
He arrived on Thursday, anyway, to begin a speaking tour to Right to Life groups around the country, and was promptly detained by Border Security officers at Melbourne airport before being transferred to Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre pending deportation.
Newman has no criminal record, is not a threat to national security or to good public order.
He just has an opinion the “#ShoutYourAbortion” crowd don’t like. He believes abortion is murder.
Newman is on the board of the Center for Medical Progress, which has released 10 videos detailing horrendous practices at abortion provider Planned Parenthood, including the sale of foetal organs and body parts.
That makes him public enemy number one to abortion activists who will do whatever it takes to suppress the ugliness of the lucrative global abortion industry.
Whether you agree with Newman or not, his views are not illegal or even very remarkable. There are plenty of Australians who agree abortion is murder and many more who, while believing abortion should be safe and legal, are uncomfortable with the large number of abortions performed each year.
Surely the women who celebrate their abortions on twitter with the hashtag “Shout your abortion” are more out of step with community sentiment.
Viewpoints
Whatever your view, banning uncomfortable opinions puts us on a dangerous path. Yet how few Australians are willing to uphold basic liberal principles when it comes to defending views they find distasteful.
The Turnbull government has caved into twitter lynch mobs in order to demonstrate its new feminist agenda. Incredibly, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton even took at face value a deceptive letter from Labor MP Terri Butler.
As the Australian Christian Lobby points out, Butler is a member of the pro-abortion group Emily’s List, who “receives campaign money from Emily’s List because of her pro-abortion views.
“That is fair enough in a free society, but it is a relevant motivating factor in her campaign to stop Mr Newman from speaking in Australia.”
Emily’s List is menace enough in the Labor Party, but now the Coalition has bowed to its autocratic ideology.
Did Dutton bother checking Butler’s claims before cancelling Newman’s visa at the last minute?
Her letter was a farrago of half truths and exaggerations. She claimed Newman advocated the execution of abortion doctors, implying he incited vigilante violence. Her evidence was a 2000 book in which he wrote the US government’s “responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes.” Note the word “convicted”. The death penalty is law in some US states.
Butler further claimed, “There is a real risk that Mr Newman’s conduct may cause discord within the community and disrupt the ability of women to access lawful reproductive medicine.”
In the High Court on Friday Justice Nettle reportedly found it had not been proven that Newman had advocated the death penalty for abortion doctors nor that protests he had been involved with in the US had been violent.
But because Newman had defied Australian law by flying here without a visa, he lost his challenge and had to leave the country.
Now he’s gone, all that has been achieved is that Australia is notorious as a country that does not tolerate unfashionable views.
What’s next? Do we ban anyone who dissents from PM Turnbull’s opinion on climate change, or same sex marriage or radical Islam?
So much for the broad church.
….

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