Anti-Abortion Groups Clash at DNC Protests

Along with its grisly “truth truck,” the anti-abortion movement is
bringing drama and infighting with it to the Democratic National

Two groups, both claiming the moniker “Operation Rescue,” will
descend on Denver to protest Barack Obama’s pro-choice stance.
Problem is, one group plans for an in-your-face rally with an illegal
sit-in ending in dozens of arrests while the other group wants a
peaceful, prayerful demonstration.

Operation Rescue was founded in 1986 by famed anti-abortion activist
Randall Terry, known for confronting women outside abortion clinics and
throwing his body in front of health centers. Terry split with
Operation Rescue more than a dozen years ago and went on to run
unsuccessfully for Congress and initiate a career in country singing.

In the meantime, Troy Newman, who spearheaded an Operation Rescue
affiliate in San Diego, took over the national organization and moved
it to Wichita. But then Terry reappeared on the anti-abortion scene,
claiming that Newman had engaged in “identity theft” by registering
Operation Rescue with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in Newman’s
name in 2006. Last year, Terry filed suit against Newman.

Now, both men are planning Denver protests. True to his inflammatory
style, Terry met with Denver Police on Wednesday afternoon and then
told reporters that members of Operation Rescue planned on staging an
illegal sit-in and getting arrested.

Terry says that the group will protest on Monday and Tuesday, but
will not disclose the location. “I think we will have between 10 and 30
arrested,” he says. The group will also hand out 100,000 anti-Obama
brochures at Catholic, evangelical Christian and black churches that
support the Senator. One brochure describes a fictitious “candidate
Smith” who “shares our values” on immigration, health care and taxes,
but also supports slavery.

“There is no candidate Smith who supports slavery,” reads the
brochure. “But if there was, would you betray your Christian faith to
vote for him — even if you agreed on all the other issues? Or would the
candidate’s support of slavery automatically disqualify him from
holding office?

“Now; here is a test on ethics: Which is a worse crime: slavery or
murder?” the brochure continues. “How can a Christian vote for a
candidate that supports the murder of children by abortion?!”

Newman shudders at Terry’s literature, and views it as an affront to
the Operation Rescue name. “I thought it was so incredibly racially
insensitive I just couldn’t stomach reading it. That is how appalled I
was,” he says. “We denounce any form of racial insensitivity, no matter
where it rears its head. It will not be tolerated within our
organization or in this movement.”

On Wednesday, Newman’s group sent out a press release decrying
Terry’s use of the Operation Rescue name, which read “Mr. Terry has no
authority whatsoever to imply, nor speak on behalf of, Operation

Terry, on the other hand, says that Newman insists on using the
Operation Rescue name because the public still affiliates it with
himself. “The long and the short of it is that Troy is using that name
because people think they are dealing with me when they see that,” he

Even so, Newman says that his tactics during the DNC will differ
significantly from Terry’s. “We pray that we won’t be arrested,” he
says, “We want to distinguish ourselves from the anarchists, the Code
Pink people, the Re-create 68 people who want to create havoc and chaos
and disrupt the convention. That is not our intention. We are
Christians who are praying for a positive change. You don’t do that by
having your end goal as an arrest.”

Newman’s Operation Rescue, as well as other anti-abortion groups, have publicized their DNC protest plans,
which begin with a demonstration at a Denver Planned Parenthood on
Saturday. Newman plans to pass out literature in support of the Amendment 48 November ballot initiative that seeks to proffer rights to fertilized eggs.

Asked whether Newman is concerned that some of his Operation Rescue
activists will accidentally rally with Terry and get arrested, he says,
“I think that is Randall’s hope. But Randall has a long history within
the pro-life movement. The activist part of the pro-life community is
so well networked, there is no concern on my behalf that someone is
going to show up at Mr. Terry’s function and think it is ours or
someone else’s.”


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  • sayna

    I’m fairly certain I’ve seen the "truth truck" you describe. Although now it may have been turned into an anti-gay truck, because I’ve seen both of them in San Diego county and both are absurdly decked-out with all sorts of outrageous claims.


    I remember when I was little seeing a truck parked near a huge church in a crummy part of town with a bizarre picture of a baby that looked shattered like glass fragments and the word "ABORTION" in huge letters. My mom told me to cover my eyes. Back then, I assumed that my mother was sheilding me from some terrible truth that these noble people were exposing. It scares me to think about where I’d be now if I hadn’t developed some critical thinking skills or heard the other side of the story. I could still be thinking that the picture I saw was accurate. Maybe I would be one of the people who comes to this site simply to harrass and insult the members! *shudder*

  • scott-swenson

    Sayna, Shudder is right! We’re glad to have you and your civility, though we don’t agree on everything. You demonstrate that great American value of allowing for differing beliefs without demonizing others. Thanks for demonstrating respect for pro-choice views while being true to your own beliefs. The truck, and all the other over-the-top tactics of extremists only tear at the fabric of our democracy, and do nothing to improve sexual and reproductive healthcare.

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    Sanya, there are several trucks in operation and several organizations are utilizing them, although from what I’ve read, the particularly garish ones are run by individuals. There’s one notable one run by a man named Ron Brock, who has had a crucified blood baby doll mounted on top.

  • invalid-0

    Good article, Naomi. You’re one of the few writers who has mentioned anything about pro-lifers detesting Randall Terry. He hates on his gay son, left his first wife to marry a younger secretary, and used donations to buy himself a $400,000 house in Florida.

    To top it all off, he still claims that he is the originator of the “rescue movement,” despite thousands of people being arrested in the decade before he came onto the scene. The fact that he can only scrounge up 10-30 people for his nationwide call to action really says something about the level of respect most pro-life activists have for the douchebag.

    But hey, he still loves Jesus…so that makes everything OK, right?

  • invalid-0

    That was me

  • invalid-0

    Randall Terry wikipedia entry (check the links for some good reading):

  • marysia

    Many people who identify as prolife on abortion oppose the use of "truth trucks" as well as just about everything Randall Terry does and says!

    Imposing gory photos on a public that did not ask to see them should never substitute for gentle, civil attempts at persuasion or (much, much better yet!) offering women positive, substantive alternatives to abortion.

    And it does not take much to realize that Terry’s actions as far anyone can tell diverge wildly from his professions of respect for life…As Christian ministers like to preach out of the Bible, "by their fruits you shall know them."  Dumping your wife for someone young, sShunning a gay son, and living the high life while pregnant women, already born children and so many others are consigned to the streets are pretty rotten produce.

  • invalid-0

    Cheryl Sullenger has spent over two years in federal prison for plotting to blow up an abortion clinic in San Diego. She’s a terroist. Ron Brock has been arrested and charged with carrying illegal weapons among other things. He admitted in a California newspaper to having been arrested a hundred times. Real peaceful Christians we have here.

  • invalid-0

    To whom much is given to whom much is required. Lets face freedom is not free, therefore how can we claim to be a great country if in the last 35 years since the unconstitutional passage of Roe V Wade have we murderd 50,000,0000 million inocent babies. This clearly is the defining use of our time, if we are to remain a great nation we need to fight for freedom of all people born and unborn. How would you feel if you never had the chance to view a beautiful sunshine or go to a high school prom or fall in love and get married. As Feminist For Life stated “abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women,American woman deserve better than abortion, they deserve the truth of how abortion increases the risk of commiting suicide by three times. Lets face it Planned Parenthood could give a damn about woman and they certianly don’t care about black woman considering they make up 6% of the population but yet comprise 40% of the population not surprising since Margaret Sanger and PP have a long history of racism going back 80 years. We shall over come this America is now 54% prolife and the tide is turing we will and shall win the war against babies it is our moral and civic duty to look after the least of these.