Conservative radio talk show host and author Laura Ingraham is the keynote speaker at a Yakima banquet Friday to raise money for an anti-abortion nonprofit group that offers mobile medical services for pregnant women.

But her first visit to Yakima isn’t without controversy after a website she co-founded and edits complained that the Catholic Diocese of Yakima has not promoted the event because of her stand on immigration, among other issues.

The website also suggests Bishop Joseph J. Tyson has obstructed other pro-life efforts — a charge a Diocese statement called “nonsense.”

The event benefits Image Point Mobile Medical Services, an organization founded in 2012 to provide free medical services to women, including pregnancy testing, STD tests and ultrasound exams. It’s based in Yakima.

Lenette Lindemann, chairwoman and founder of Image Point, said in a news release that the fundraiser will help support Image Point in providing free, first-step services for women and teens facing an unplanned pregnancy.

Ingraham, who hosts “The Laura Ingraham Show” and has written five books including New York Times best-sellers, is a regular contributor on the Fox News Channel and is a permanent substitute host on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

A resident of Washington, D.C., Ingraham has three adopted children: Maria Caroline, Michael Dmitri and Nikolai Peter.

An article in LifeZette.com — which Ingraham co-founded and serves as editor-in-chief — criticized Tyson for failing to help promote the event.

The Diocese of Yakima, however, said in a statement prepared by Monsignor Robert Siler that Ingraham is an unsuitable speaker for events sponsored or promoted by the Diocese.

Specifically, the church statement takes aim at what it calls Ingraham’s harsh comments “supporting the deportation of entire families, including children who are American citizens.”

The church also disputed LifeZette.com’s characterization of Tyson as an “open-borders bishop.” It notes that a 2003 joint pastoral letter by U.S. and Mexican bishops, while saying people have a right to migrate to support themselves, also says nations have a right to control and protect their borders.

Lindemann expressed dismay that the Yakima Diocese is not supporting the Ingraham event.

“This is an important fundraiser for us,” she said. “We feel like we’ve taken a big hit.”

Previously an all-volunteer organization, Image Point, which is nondenominational, recently hired two nurses to provide medical services and aims to broaden services to Ellensburg and the Tri-Cities.

In a telephone interview Lindemann said, “We didn’t bring her (Ingraham) to Yakima to talk about immigration. Instead, her pro-life stance is very strong; she complements our message.”

 

• Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Jane Gargas contributed to this report.

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