Ex-Catholic Priest: I Used to Pray Outside Abortion Clinics, Now I Support Abortion

Ex-Catholic Priest: I Used to Pray Outside Abortion Clinics, Now I Support Abortion


Dan Murtah used to be a Catholic priest. He used to stand outside of abortion clinics in the United Kingdom and pray for women and babies with other priests and pro-lifers.

In a column for The Huffington Post this week, Murtah said he now regrets those pro-life prayers on the sidewalk. He no longer is a priest, and now believes that opposition to abortion is little more than a religious belief.

Murtah said he now believes the government should not get involved in abortion, what he says is a religious issue. He based his position on the inaccurate claim that there is no evidence that life begins at conception, and being pro-life is merely a religious viewpoint.

“Religious belief is only that – an assumption that something is true even if scientific evidence is lacking,” Murtah wrote. “There is no evidence that life begins at conception, however because there is a lack of scientific consensus religion is inclined to plug the gap with belief.”

Because of his conclusions, he said he now believes his prayers outside the abortion clinics did not do any good.

He continued:

Six years ago when I was training to be a priest in the U.K. I would borrow the seminary car and – with some of the lads in my year group – we would travel across the city to pray outside an abortion clinic. We gathered on the path near the main gates for an hour every week and prayed out loud. We asked God to help the young girls we saw sat on the back seats of cars entering the carpark, the staff inside and what we believed to be the unborn life. We wanted our religious beliefs to impact those women’s lives and that was the problem.

I am not sure why I thought standing outside on those cold afternoons was appropriate. Maybe I thought it would actually make a positive difference. I’m now certain it didn’t. No woman arriving to have an abortion was comforted by our presence. Why would they have been when we obviously felt their actions were so bad that praying quietly at church wasn’t enough – we had to gather outside and pray aloud for all to see and hear us. I now realise the unnecessary guilt and shame our presence may have caused and this is something I deeply regret.
At one point, he even claimed that life begins at conception is a “scientifically unsupported belief.”

Interestingly, he later wrote:

Last summer I attended the comedian Louis C.K.‘s show at Wembley Arena in London. Louis is pro-choice but he argued that you would have to be a psychopath to believe life begins at conception and then not think abortion is wrong. I agree with him and that’s why I think – for the sake of women’s rights – religious belief should be kept as far as possible from government and abortion clinics.

Yet, there is a strong scientific consensus that human life does begin at conception. This is science, not a religious belief.

Here is just a sample of citations that support this, as compiled by pro-life writer Sarah Terzo:

“The life cycle of mammals begins when a sperm enters an egg.”

Okada et al., A role for the elongator complex in zygotic paternal genome demethylation, NATURE 463:554 (Jan. 28, 2010)


“Fertilization is the process by which male and female haploid gametes (sperm and egg) unite to produce a genetically distinct individual.”

Signorelli et al., Kinases, phosphatases and proteases during sperm capacitation, CELL TISSUE RES. 349(3):765 (Mar. 20, 2012)


“The oviduct or Fallopian tube is the anatomical region where every new life begins in mammalian species. After a long journey, the spermatozoa meet the oocyte in the specific site of the oviduct named ampulla, and fertilization takes place.”

Coy et al., Roles of the oviduct in mammalian fertilization, REPRODUCTION 144(6):649 (Oct. 1, 2012).

Last spring, scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago further confirmed this with an interesting finding. The research team not only noted that human life begins at conception, but also video-recorded a spark of light that takes place when the new life forms.

Some abortion activists also admit that life begins at conception. These include abortion practitioners, both current and former. Curtis Boyd, a New Mexico abortionist and founding member of the National Abortion Federation, is one of them.

“Am I killing? Yes, I am. I know that,” Boyd once said.

Murtah probably should start doing some more research.

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One comment on “Ex-Catholic Priest: I Used to Pray Outside Abortion Clinics, Now I Support Abortion

  1. [More on ex-Fr. Dan]

    Posted by Oakes Spalding on WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2017

    NOT A PARODY: Father Dan Fitzpatrick Isn’t a Woman but He is About to Marry One

    Fr. Dan with a woman

    Almost two years ago, I wrote a parody post – BREAKING: Father Daniel Fitzpatrick, an Ordained Catholic Priest, Revealed to be a WOMAN!

    The post referred to a real priest, and it actually used the real name and a real photo of the man.

    And yes, he was a man. Calling him a woman was part of the parody.

    Why would I do such a mean thing? Actually, it was an attempt to give “Fr. Dan” a taste of his own medicine. The young liberal priest from the English diocese of Hexham and Newcastle had publicly endorsed the claim that the Holy Spirit was female. Fair enough – this is the sort of thing that liberal priests do. But a Catholic blogger picked up on it and wrote at least one critical post. In turn, the touchy Fr. Dan then threatened to sue the blogger, going as far as to have a lawyer write her a letter. At the same time, many of his parishioners and Facebook friends competed in an online game to see who could call the faithful Catholic blogger the nastiest names.

    Fr. Dan as a “woman”

    This was against the background of Fr. Dan, who by then was a minor celebrity for appearing on television and radio, preaching about how Jesus was all about love and tolerance.

    The post went quasi-viral, which suited me just fine. I half-expected to get a letter from Chris Ross, his solicitor.

    I wrote two other posts that referred to Fitzpatrick. One featured a “vine” that he had placed on his own Facebook page. It showed the good father in a plaid shirt, looking like he had just gotten out of bed, air drumming to a Phil Collins song. As soon as I put it up, he took the vine down. Spoilsport.

    Fr. Dan as a frat boy

    But it really did seem to me that, while he may have truly been a man, he wasn’t acting very much like a priest, what with his lawsuit hissy fits and music vines and all. Indeed, I called him a “frat boy.”

    Well, it turns out he didn’t really think of himself as a priest either.

    A bit more than a year ago, Fitzpatrick left the priesthood to take up with a divorced woman. They are about to be “married.”

    An article in the Guardian written by Ex-Father Fitzpatrick (he now calls himself Dan Murtah) reads in some ways like a parody itself. While still a priest he meets an old female friend at a pub fundraiser featuring traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing. “She was confident, funny and easy to talk to,” he reports, and “she informed me she had recently got divorced.”

    We became friends over the following months and I began to fall in love, which needless to say isn’t allowed if you are a priest…You definitely shouldn’t take them to the cinema and sit on the back row (oops).

    After telling us that he took off his “dog collar” for the last time in late 2015, he reveals this about his interior moral struggle:

    I was also told that I could not break my vow of celibacy – but it turns out that it was as easy as making it.

    But it was still quite a sacrifice:

    The decision would cost me my home, my job and a lot of friends.

    Leaving the priesthood cost him his home. That’s rough.

    Apparently, he now intends to earn a living as a stand-up comic.

    The narrative voice reminded me a bit of Matthew Broderick in the second half of the movie Election.

    Not only did Murtah leave the priesthood on his own initiative (the article makes it sound as if he did not get permission from the Church), but he appears to have apostatized. There’s no mention of God in the entire piece except as part of an expression – “God knows what he’d (the Pope) think of me having sex.” But in truth, I suspect he lost his faith much earlier. Perhaps he never really had it.

    Sure it’s funny. It’s also very sad.

    * * *

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