You may not be familiar with Troy Newman and that’s probably a good thing.
He is an anti-abortion campaigner from the US and head of Operation Rescue, a Christian pro-life organisation who employ extreme, damaging tactics in an ongoing fight to limit the reproductive rights of women.
On Monday — which ironically was Global Day of Action for Access to Abortion — Newman announced he would be arriving in Australia in early October for a series of speaking events organised by Australia’s own backwards looking pro-life group Right to Life Australia.
His impending visit sparked outrage in the community and he has now been blocked from entering the country by the Federal Government.
In a Facebook post, Newman announced that he had been pulled off a plane in Denver and told he would not be travelling to Los Angeles and then Melbourne.
Watch him struggle to comprehend it in this glorious video:
Newman is the campaigner responsible for such offensive efforts as the series of fake undercover videos claiming to show Planned Parenthood staff selling body parts of aborted foetuses for profit, which have been cited by many Republic members in their attempts to defund the safe abortion clinics.
He claims to be dedicated to showing the ‘truth’ of abortion and was behind Truth Trucks in the US, which are designed to shame women out of accessing safe, legal abortion options by subjecting them to graphic images of aborted foetuses.
His ideology is probably most explicitly spelled out in his book Their Blood Cries Out, which was first published in 2000 and calls on Christians to join the abortion “rescue” movement to absolve America of its “’bloodguilt”.
Operation Rescue actively campaigned against Dr George Tiller, one of the only late-term abortion providers in the US, with Newman inciting his followers to gather — and make public — as much information about abortion providers as possible, including details of companies providing goods and services to clinics, and photographs of staff and patients.
Newman boasted about circulating photos of Dr Tiller, who was later shot dead by a member of Operation Rescue in 2006.
Since Monday there has been increasing pressure on Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to deny a visa to the controversial spokesperson — and it appears that he has listened to community concerns.
Federal Labor MP Terri Butler wrote to Minister Dutton saying that Newman’s visit ought to be cancelled in the interest of public safety, arguing that it could lead to threats or acts of violence against women and medical professionals.
“Mr Newman argues that medical professionals who participate in terminations should be executed, and compares women who seek terminations to murderers,” Butler said.
“I am very concerned that his presence in Australia will incite some to harass and intimidate women accessing reproductive services and those professionals offering them at medical clinics.
“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.”
Butler’s worries were echoed in a Change.org petition that circulated online and garnered more than 2,000 signatures.
Destroy the Joint also put the call out on social media to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and urged people to write to recently-appointed Minister for Women Michaelia Cash, drawing comparisons between Newman and Chris Brown who last week was blocked from visiting Australia because of his history of domestic violence.
The national president of Right to Life Australia, Margaret Tighe, has defended their choice in Newman saying those who oppose his right to speak “stand condemned”.
“Troy Newman’s group has been exposing some of the atrocities happening in the United States,” she told the Guardian.
“When are we going to wake up to this silent holocaust in our midst?”
There are still jurisdictions in Australia where women cannot access safe, legal, affordable abortion options.
Troy Newman is a danger to women and healthcare providers and his hate speech is not welcome here.
This is a win for anyone who believes in women’s reproductive rights.