It’s very busy couple of weeks for anyone who considers themselves either a pro-choice activist or an anti-abortion activist. First, we saw the struggle to pass a U.S. budget due to the efforts of anti-abortion legislators to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, despite the promise of President Obama to veto any such measures. Speaker of the House John Boehner announced his resignation, effective later in October. Many have speculated that his strong anti-abortion convictions contributed to his decision to quit. The Pope shared his anti-abortion sentiments during his recent U.S. trip. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, was grilled by a U.S. congressional committee. Now, American anti-abortion activist Troy Newman is sitting in limbo, having been detained by Australian Border Force when he attempted to enter the country.
Despite the fact that his visa had been revoked, anti-abortion Newman still chose to travel to Australia with his wife. He was detained upon arrival Thursday morning. His wife, however, was still free to enter the country. Her first course of action? To seek legal counsel and petition the Australian government to reverse their decision to revoke his visa, which would allow him to remain in the country rather than being deported back to the United States.
Why does his wife believe the decision to revoke his visa should be reversed? According to Clothier, Anderson, and Associates, counsel for the anti-abortion activist, their client’s visa was revoked simply because the Australian government disagrees with his stance, not because he poses a threat to security in the nation. The activist and his lawyers have now been given 24-hours to try to come to some kind of agreement in a move that delays his immediate deportation back to the U.S.
“The basis of the [visa] finding seems to rest solely on the adverse reaction to my client’s presence in Australia. There was no question at all that that my client has ever advocated violence.”
Despite the claims of Newman’s legal team, Peter Dutton clearly disagreed with the assertion that there was “no question at all” that the anti-abortion activist had ever advocated violence. Indeed, Dutton cited his right to revoke visas under section 128 of the country’s Migration Act. The law gives the migration minister the right to revoke the visas of non-residents before they enter the nation if it’s believed that they are going to pose a safety risk. Or, if it is believed they are going to attempt to “vilify a certain group of people.”
With the anti-abortion activist coming to Australia to participate in a 10-day, 5 city anti-abortion tour organized by Right to Life Australia, Dutton likely presumed he would be vilifying a certain group of people during his stay. This assumption could even be made with a degree of accuracy if he hadn’t called for the killing of abortion providers in his book.
It’s also highly apparent that the anti-abortion activist knew precisely what he was doing when he got on the plane and headed for Australia. Following Tuesday’s decision by the Australian government to revoke his travel privileges to the country, the controversial anti-abortion activist took to Facebook to announce his decision to head down under anyway.
[Image Courtesy: Charlie Riedel / AP]