Barred anti-abortion activist pledges return to Australia

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 03, 2015 2:40 PM

By Jonathan Alcorn

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. anti-abortion activist Troy Newman, forced to leave Australia because his visa was canceled, arrived back in the United States on Saturday and vowed to make the trip again within a year.

Newman, arriving at Los Angeles International Airport for a series of connecting flights to Wichita, Kansas, where his anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue is headquartered, said he would not give up on plans for a speaking tour across Australia.

His tour schedule was disrupted when his visa to enter Australia was revoked and, during an attempt to arrive illegally without it, he was detained at Melbourne Airport on Thursday. He was in custody for three days, he said.

He lost an appeal of the visa revocation on Friday and was forced, with his wife, to leave the country.

His visa was revoked before he departed the United States after Australian politicians raised concerns his visit might trigger violence against abortion providers or women seeking the procedure.

Newman said the next court date over the visa issue was in Australia in 30 days and he will have legal representation but will not appear in court himself. He pledged to return to Australia within a year to spread his anti-abortion message.

"General MacArthur said, 'I shall return' and so shall I," said Newman, referring to World War II American hero who eventually kept his promise to return and free the Philippines from Japanese control.

Critics of Newman point to published writings, in which he questions why women who have abortions are not charged with murder.

He said his views and actions had been misrepresented and called himself a "peaceful activist" who teaches "people how to non-violently close abortion clinics and save babies."

The rejection of Newman's visa came days after Australia said it would refuse a visa to U.S. hip-hop star Chris Brown, because of the singer's history of domestic violence.

(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Helen Popper and Richard Chang)