The anti-abortion group who call themselves the Center for Medical Progress is, as Broadly has detailed in the past, full of shit. While Republican politicians in America are reluctant to own up to this—and blatantly spread the organization's falsehoods—the sensible country of Australia isn't letting the anti-abortion extremist group set foot on Aussie soil.
The head of the Center for Medical Progress, Troy Newman, was detained by Australian officials yesterday after his visa to visit the country was cancelled over his ties to violent anti-abortion extremism; although Newman's visa was canceled before he attempted to enter the country, he flew to Melbourne anyway, where he was held at immigration. In addition to his position on the board of the Center for Medical Progress, Newman is the current president of Operation Rescue, whose members have gone as far as conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.
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Remember, Newman is one of the individuals who knowingly created and disseminated doctored videos of Planned Parenthood employees with the aim of getting the non-profit—which helps millions of in-need women access healthcare—shut down. It almost worked, too. This week, the US House of Representatives, fueled by the Center for Medical Progress's fallacious "undercover videos," voted to defund Planned Parenthood. While the Senate ultimately voted to keep the healthcare provider funded, the ordeal nearly caused a government shutdown.
Referring to Newman's rampant and extreme anti-abortion rhetoric and dangerous actions, which include advocating for the murder of abortion providers, a member of the Australian parliament told the Guardian, "This type of extremism may fly in the US, but not here in Australia." These words from a Labour party official are only the latest deeply embarrassing straw upon the camel's back for Republican candidates who championed the Center for Medical Progress, including each presidential candidate who took part in the Republican debate.
In fact, not much gets past the land down under. Newman, with his connections to bombings, is indeed an insidious character, especially when it comes to women's rights. But Australia has attempted to ban people from crossing their border for less. Recently, Australia banned Chris Brown from performing in the country after he committed domestic violence, and this past summer, some Australian citizens called for the ban of Tyler the Creator for the content of his lyrics. The LA rapper ended up canceling his tour as a result, although the government did not deny his visa despite the urgings of activists.
This type of extremism may fly in the US, but not here in Australia.
Currently, Operation Rescue is tweeting incessantly about Newman's status as an unjust political prisoner. However, the difference between a rapper and a terrorist struggling with admittance to Oz is vast. Newman's plight is not one of free speech. He's not just triggering women with his gross-out rap lyrics; he believes that the killer of an abortion doctor should have be able to argue it was a "justifiable defensive action" and is openly affiliated with convicted terrorists. Earlier this week, Australian member of Parliament Terri Butler requested the nation's Department of Immigration and Border Protection cancel Newman's visa on the grounds that Newman—who was to be hosted by the group Right to Life Australia in order to "'stir up' debate" in the country—would promote "the harassment and intimidation of women accessing reproductive services and professionals offering those services at medical clinics, and result in their vilification within the community; especially vulnerable women."
"Troy Newman is one of the godfathers of this discredited smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, and Australian officials are actually blocking him from entering their country because of his ties to violent extremism," Eric Ferrero, the vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a press release.
"For anyone who wonders just how extreme the people behind this fraudulent smear campaign are, Australia has your answer. Newman and the other people behind these attacks on Planned Parenthood are part of a network of extremists who are obsessed with Planned Parenthood, and who have shown they'll do anything to try to block women's access to safe, legal abortion."