On Tuesday, KRQE News 13 wrote an article going after a local pro-life group, the Right to Life Committee of New Mexico, for its life-affirming billboard featuring Albuquerque Police Officer Ryan Holets in his APD uniform and reading, “My favorite right is life.”
In 2017, Holets gained national when he was on duty and met a woman addicted to heroin while eight months pregnant. Officer Holets adopted her baby and helped the mother get to rehab.
The television station interviewed someone named Dakota Lopez who claimed the billboard “seemed like it was crossing into the realm of like, church and state and how it’s supposed to be separated.” It is unclear what this individual meant by that comment since the group is a non-profit and the officer featured on the billboard is entitled to his own beliefs.
According to an APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos KRQE 13 contacted, he said, “We are aware of the billboard and we addressed it with the officer, who said he was approached several months ago about the use of his image in uniform. The officer informed the group that he would not give permission because it would be a violation of APD policy for him to provide an image of himself in uniform for a political campaign. The group used the images anyway, without permission and contrary to the wishes of a police officer who has distinguished himself for his integrity.”
Ethel Maharg, the executive director of the Right to Life of New Mexico, who is also a Republican gubernatorial candidate, said she never was told she could not use the images and that “It’s just that I know if they’re online they’re public domain so you can borrow them,”
It is unclear why now liberals and the mainstream media are attacking the pro-life group for the billboard, since it appears to have been up since at least July 12, with the group writing on Facebook, “Look what just went up on Northbound I-25 by the Lomas exit. Our very own hometown hero Officer Holets with 2 of his favorite girls. Hope Holets and Kardence Bero. We are super excited about our billboard and sign campaign. My Favorite Right is Life!”
After the KRQE 13 hit piece, Maharg wrote on Facebook that the news channel“said I chose the image of Officer Holets because it had made national news. Wrong again. I never said that. They lied. We chose Officer Holets for 2 reasons. 1. He is a decent human being who did a noble thing when he offered to adopt his baby Hope (while in uniform). He saved this baby from abortion. The [birth mother] didn’t want one but was in a desperate situation and desperate people do desperate things. Officer Holets saved 3 lives that day. The baby, the mother and father. He went above and beyond and saw to it that the birthparents got the help they needed. 2, When good officers do something good it goes unnoticed. I’m not going to let that happen. Right now the police force is under attack by the government. They are understaffed, on surveillance at all times and frankly there is little respect for them. It’s time we respect our men and women in blue.”
She noted,“As for me asking Officer Holets for permission and he not giving it. Lies AGAIN. I didn’t ask for his permission. It is public domain and I used it. I would NEVER intentionally hurt Officer Holets or our police force. As for the uninformed comment of church and state I laughed because you don’t know who we are. Right to Life is a [nonsectarian] organization. Let me ask you. Did you see the words God, Jesus, or the cross on that billboard? I guess you did because we stand for life from conception to natural death so I guess it did say God, Jesus and the cross.”
“You cannot deny truth. The problem you see here is that this Big, Beautiful billboard is bringing light to life, and the pro-death people are upset especially since it sits right at the exit where women seeking an abortion would see it. Pobresitos! This billboard has been up since July 14th and you just now noticed it? What took you so long? To KRQE Thanks for the free press. If you like our billboards and want to see them continue go to rtlnm.org and give so we can continue this fight, because we will NEVER stop fighting for life,” Maharg concluded.