Popular pro-life professor sues media after pro-abortion “hit piece” attempting “cancel” her

A popular and respected pro-life professor in Australia is intending to file a defamation lawsuit against a news outlet that published a “hit piece” falsely claiming that her anti-abortion views had caused an outcry among students. “I’m not scared. I’m not going to be silent.”

By SPUC—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

Dr Joanna Howe, an Associate Professor in Law at the University of Adelaide, is a pro-life advocate who uses social media to defend the right to life of the unborn. “But I have never talked about abortion in my lectures as I do not teach a subject in which this would be relevant.”

However, The Advertiser, an Adelaide-based news outlet, recently published an article condemning her as a pro-life “extremist” whose anti-abortion outlook had caused an “outcry” on campus. The Advertiser cited one anonymous source, claiming to be a student, who said she had been made to feel “uncomfortable and unsafe” because of Dr Howe’s pro-life position.

Dishonest media

Dr Howe has slammed The Advertiser’s “hit piece” as dishonest, groundless and bullying.

“The article did not report on any actual news event, given there had been no student complaints and no incidents of any kind. No complaint had been made about me to any relevant party”, Dr Howe pointed out.

“Given I teach more than 300 students a year”, she continued, “it is misleading for an article to suggest that I am ‘under fire’ or there has been an ‘outcry’ based on a lone anonymous student speaking only with the newspaper”.

Despite calling out the media outlet, it has since doubled down on its piece with another anonymous claim, leading Dr Howe to consider legal action. “I think it is important to hold media organisations to account… I never talk about abortion in my lectures, let alone pass judgment”.

Dr Howe believes that The Advertiser is ultimately trying to get her “cancelled and sacked” from her job.

Popular support for Dr Howe 

Following the media attack on her, Dr Howe says “many students have reached out to me personally, written on my social media and also written to the newspaper directly to convey their support for me… Of the 170 comments underneath the article, over 90% were in support of my right to freedom of speech to be able to talk about abortion on social media.”

One former student confirmed that Dr Howe was always “approachable… Dr Howe’s views on abortion were never mentioned, inferred or perpetuated within the lecture theatre or within her capacity as a law school academic.”

Fighting back against mainstream media

SPUC’s Michael Robinson, Executive Director (Public Affairs and Legal Services), said: “Mainstream media, so often the mouthpiece of the abortion industry, increasingly attempts to defame pro-lifers and get them ‘cancelled’ because it cannot reckon with the truth about abortion. Rather than engaging with pro-lifers, the media attempts to intimidate, bully and even rob pro-lifers of employment.

“It appears that the case of Dr Howe is indeed a deliberate hit piece intended to get her fired from her job. Dr Howe is to be commended for fighting back against such blatant dishonesty.”

Mr. Robinson conclude, “As the pro-life movement gains ground around the world and wins important victories, such as the repeal of Roe v. Wade, we can expect further defamation from pro-abortion ideologies and apologists, whose increasing lies ultimately comes from a place of deep insecurity regarding their pro-abortion cause. It is vital that pro-lifers withstand these falsehoods and stand together for each other and the right to life of the unborn.”