Human Life International

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Human Life International is an American-based Roman Catholic activist pro-life organization. Founded in 1981 by Father Paul Marx (1920–2010), HLI is located in Front Royal, Virginia. Human Life International describes itself as "the largest international pro-life organization in the world", noting that it has affiliates and associates in over 80 nations worldwide.[1] It has collaborated with secular organizations as well as those of various other religious denominations.[citation needed]

Its mission is to train, organize and equip pro-life leaders around the world. The organization is faithful to the Vatican, but works with people of all faiths to advance the pro-life cause.

Key staff [2][edit]

  • John Martin is Executive Vice President.
  • Joseph Meaney is Director of International Coordination.
  • Brian Clowes is Director of Research and Training.
  • Monsignor Ignacio Carambula Barreiro is Director of the Rome office.
  • Stephen Phelan is Communications Manager.


Accusations of Anti-Semitism[edit]

HLI founder Marx was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League in 1998, after accusations that he had referred to the "Jewish domination" of the pro-choice movement, as well as commenting that most French pro-choice activists were "Jewish", and once referred to a "female Jewish liar" whom he heard at a Bucharest World Population Conference. He is accused of making further controversial remarks in 1987, comparing abortion to the Holocaust and describing the former as a 'greater holocaust'.[3] These charges are not corroborated with references to HLI's own publications, where the statements were allegedly made.

HLI stated that criticizing pro-choice Jews for their advocacy of abortion no more made Father Marx "anti-Semitic" than his constant criticism of pro-choice Catholics made him "anti-Catholic".[4] HLI also points out that the founder of NARAL, Bernard Nathanson, was an abortionist who became a pro-life activist, including regular collaborations with HLI, and even speaking at HLI conferences. Nathanson, who was Jewish, also called abortion "the most atrocious holocaust in the history of the United States." HLI has challenged its critics to produce evidence of anti-Semitism other than that which appears in its critics' publications.[5]

The death of Savita Halappanavar[edit]

Savita Halappanavar, a 31 year-old Hindu of Indian origin, living in Galway, Ireland, suffered a miscarriage when she was 17 weeks pregnant. She sought medical attention and treatment at University Hospital Galway.[6] Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, said that the hospital told them the foetus was not viable, but they could not perform an abortion under Irish Law as the foetus' heart was still beating. During the next several days, Halappanavar was diagnosed with septicemia, which lead to multiple organ failure and her death on October 28, 2012.[7] In November 2012, Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, stated his agreement with Irish Health Minister James Reilly, who had said that there was no evidence to indicate that "a Catholic ethos" caused the death. Boquet called news reports that attributed the alleged denial of abortion to Ireland's Catholic heritage "demonizing the church's position on abortion". He described some of the news and commentary that sought to exploit the then-unknown circumstances around Halappanavar's death as "activism masquerading as compassion and moral outrage."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About Human Life International
  2. ^ "Pro life - Human Life International". 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  3. ^ "Press Release - ADL Investigation Reveals Strain of Anti-Semitism in Extreme Factions of the Anti-Abortion Movement". Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  4. ^ "Confronting the Canadian Anti-Life Network" by Brian Clowes, HLI, 1995, p. 9
  5. ^ "Confronting the Canadian Anti-Life Network" by Brian Clowes, HLI, 1995, p. 11
  6. ^ Holland, Kitty (15 November 2012). "People ask, 'how can this happen in the 21st century?'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  7. ^ McDonald, Henry; Quinn, Ben (Wednesday 14 November 2012). "Ireland abortion policy under scrutiny after woman's death". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  8. ^ Boquet, Shenan J. (2012-11-15). "Human Life International Statement on the Death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland". Catholic Online. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 

External links[edit]