Debunking Conspiracy Beliefs of a ‘Pro-Life’ Priest

| Reproaction

By: Jessica Ensley

As the pandemic hit and election season ramped up in 2020, Frank Pavone, president of the anti-abortion organization Priests for Life, began more loudly showcasing his far-right views. As we previously covered, Priests for Life is a national nonprofit that has a history of misusing funds. We also covered Pavone’s unwavering support of former president Donald Trump, his sacrilegious questioning of the Pope, and disciplinary actions taken against him by Catholic officials. Throughout the past couple years, Pavone has spewed conspiracy theories ranging from questioning the dangers of COVID-19 to disputing the 2020 election results, and has further displayed his hatred for those who have abortions.

Pavone spread dangerous COVID conspiracy theories in the summer of 2020 by falsely stating that using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 was “having a good effect” on those who were sick with the deadly virus. [1, 2] He also told his audience on his podcast not to jump to conclusions when seeing the spike in cases, despite there being clear concerns of the pandemic raised by government healthcare officials. [3,4]

On July 13, 2020, Pavone responded to sanitation concerns of Catholic priests giving communion wafers and wine to congregants. “Bishops are ordained to teach faith and morals, not medicine. So we really ought to rely on the medical experts for that.” [5] But Pavone does not live up to his own standards there. This Catholic priest has made a career out of spouting misinformation on not only the medical procedure of abortion but now regarding a dangerous, deadly virus he has no expertise in. He went on to say, “we accept a certain amount of risk in life.” Not very ‘pro-life’ of him.

His misinformation campaigns do not end there. As a refresher, Pavone’s podcast is being published under his tax-deductible non-profit organization Priests for Life. Not only is he a climate change denier [6], he has repeatedly spread lies about the election results in favor of Trump’s campaign on the Priest for Life podcast. Two days after Associated Press and other major news networks called the election for Joe Biden, Pavone falsely declared, “President Trump has won this election, let’s make no mistake about it.” [7,8] He accelerated in railing against media outlets, claiming they had no right to call the election. He referred to media correctly calling the election in Biden’s favor as “psychological warfare.” [9] This pattern of hypocrisy is a legacy for Priests for Life, as executive director of Priests for Life Janet Morana stated in 2019 regarding Obama: “we still respected the office of the presidency.”[10] They did not, instead they sued the Obama administration for the right to deny their Priests for Life staff access to birth control. [11]

Pavone trump tweet

Pavone is, unsurprisingly, also terribly racist. He seems almost joyous when spewing his hateful rhetoric against undocumented migrants coming to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America. When asked about possibly electrifying the Southern U.S. border he said, “there are people who are experts in that and we have to let them do their job and advise what the best kind of wall should be,” passively condoning this monstrous proposal. [12] He also denied that President Trump kept undocumented children in cages at the border, despite photo and video evidence. [13,14] He contradicted himself a few months later by arguing, “you put a chain-link fence but you know what? You go to the local school playground, isn’t that what they have around the playground?” [15] On a podcast recording in 2019, he screamed about parents who would dare try to bring their children along while attempting to cross the border, ignoring the realities of parents who feel they have no choice but to cross for the safety of themselves and their children. [16] Pavone is a textbook ideological hypocrite who uses his platform as a Christian leader to preach anti-immigration sentiment. The teachings of Jesus Christ to have mercy on your neighbors and care for the poor are lost on him. [17]

But Frank Pavone’s racism doesn’t stop with immigrants. He is also fervently anti-Black. He referred to Black pregnant people having abortions as, “nothing less than lynching in the womb”  – a sentiment which stigmatizes Black women for their health care decisions, essentially blaming them for the racist violence their communities face. [18] When civil rights activist and politician John Lewis died, Pavone said Lewis’ support of abortion access was “a stain on his legacy.” [19] That statement came before Lewis’ body was even buried. The gall of a priest who does not support reparations to claim that John Lewis supporting abortion access is a “stain” on his long-standing history of fighting for human rights is not only wrong, as abortion is a human right, but it’s also disgraceful, ignorant, and racist. Full stop.

Pavone Reparations

Frank Pavone isn’t some isolated bigot going off on tirades against the vulnerable. He is a figurehead in the ‘pro-life’ movement and has friends throughout its ranks. He has referred to Troy Newman of Operation Rescue as a “key collaborator” with Priests for Life and a “friend.”[20] Newman has among other heinous things called for the government execution of abortion providers. [21] Pavone has also referred to Sean Hannity, FOX News personality, along with Kristen Day, president of Democrats for Life, as friends. [22, 23 When Pavone first took over Priests for Life, he stated he went to visit and offer help to Paul Marks of Human Life International, Judy Brown of American Life League, and Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League. [24] Pavone’s far-right stances are dangerous on their own and even more concerning when displayed with how many other pro-life leaders he collaborates with, including those who openly embrace violence as well the supposedly more mainstream leaders who also tolerate violence in their midst.

Guests on the Priests for Life podcast display concerning sentiments as well. Richard Heilman said “if gassing Jews was legal today, I would be obsessing to get rid of that law of legalized gassing Jews. This [abortion] is worse.” [25] The disgusting anti-Semitic statement should never have be said, let alone broadcasted out through a religious nonprofit’s platform. This is what we can expect from Big ‘Pro-Life.’

His disdain for supporters of abortion access was always on display. “When someone kills an abortion provider,” Pavone wrote in 1999, “he/she is practicing what pro-choicers have preached for decades: that sometimes it is OK to choose to end a life to solve a problem.” [26] This tracks with a more recent quote from his, stating that every person who has an abortion is “deeply damaged.” [27] Frank Pavone’s deep hatred for people who can become pregnant and anyone who disagrees with him ties into his love for Donald Trump. In a lot of ways he reflects Trump: egotistical, bad with money, sexist, racist, narcissistic. After it was clear Trump lost the 2020 election, Pavone went off: “People (who) don’t want him (Trump) to be president, I’m gonna tell you something straight and clear: you don’t know what’s good for you. You don’t know what’s good for your country. You don’t know what’s good for your future. You don’t know what’s good for your children. You really don’t.” [28]

But Pavone is wrong in almost every conceivable way. He does not know what is best for anyone, only what is best for himself and his ‘pro-life’ grift. This religious authority he claims to have in the pro-life movement doesn’t hold water when you look at how he views the very same people his façade claims to care about. Big ‘Pro-Life’ has no moral authority, and it never did.

Reproaction is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse or oppose candidates for political office.


  1. Pavone, Frank, host. “Voting As Aspect Of Loving God And Loving Your Neighbor!”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 8 June 2020.
  3. Pavone, Frank, host. “Election 2020 (Prolife MAGA) Class For Monday, July 13, 2020: Some Books to Read Before the Election”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 13 July 2020.
  5. Pavone, Frank, host. “Pro-life MAGA Discussion with Fr. Frank Pavone (10/21/20”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 22 October 2020.
  6. Pavone, Frank, host. “ProLife MAGA Class With Fr. Frank: Making A Video in Support of the President (7/29/20)”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 4 August 2020.
  8. Pavone, Frank, host. “Encouraging Signs And Prayers For President Trump And This Election”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 9 November 2020.
  9. Pavone, Frank, host. “Election Update Reasons To Have Confidence (11/16/2020)”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 16 November 2020.
  10. Pavone, Frank, host. “Janet Morana Talk About Current Topics (9/20/19)”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 19 September 2019.
  12. Pavone, Frank, host. “ Frank Pavone: Let’s have a conversation! I’m here to chat, ask me anything!”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 22 February 2019.
  13. Pavone, Frank, host. “ProLife MAGA Class With Fr. Frank: Making A Video in Support of the President (7/29/20).” End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 29 July 2020.
  15. Pavone, Frank, host. “Pro-Life MAGA Discussion with Fr. Frank Pavone (10/18/20).” End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 20 October 2020.
  16. Pavone, Frank, host. “ASK ME ANYTHING LIVE Broadcast! No really you can ask me anything! 02/01/20”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 3 February 2020.
  17. (Luke 10:29-37)
  18. Pavone, Frank, host. “Election 2020 (Prolife MAGA) Class For Monday, July 13, 2020: Some Books to Read Before the Election”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 13 July 2020.
  19. Pavone, Frank, host. “ Frank Pavone on Sunday Night Pro- Life Prime Time”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 3 July 2019.
  20. Pavone, Frank, host. “ Frank talks with Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue about Pro-Lifers on Trial in CA”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 25 October 2019.
  22. Pavone, Frank, host. “Sunday Morning Greeting! Neutrality is not an option – 02/02/2020”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 3 February 2020.
  23. Pavone, Frank, host. “Pro-Life Saturday Night Live with Fr. Frank Pavone, August 8, 2020”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 8 August 2020.
  24. Pavone, Frank, host. “ Frank Pavone LIVE on Prolife Primetime (04/28/20)”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 29 April 2020.
  25. Pavone, Frank, host. “Is Abortion Almost Defeated? Interview With Fr. Richard Heilman and Doug Barry 1/30/2020”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 30 January 2020.
  27. Pavone, Frank, host. “ Frank Pavone, Priests for Life: Preparation for Watching the Movie Unplanned, Part 2”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 15 March 2019.
  28. Pavone, Frank, host. “Latest Update On President Trump’s Re-Election (11/12/20)”. End Abortion Podcast, iTunes app, 12 November 2020.
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