Well, maybe the anti-choice movement isn’t trying to moderate its message that much after all. At an event this week organized by Ave Maria Law School, along with prominent anti-choice groups including Americans United for Life and the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, Troy Newman, head of the radical anti-choice group Operation Rescue, was presented with a “lifetime achievement award.”
Back in 2010, Newman rejoiced at the death of an abortion provider from leukemia, declaring, “God always gets the last word.” Newman has warned that President Obama might ban Easter, compared the passage of the Affordable Care Act to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 and created a video of Scarlett Johannson in a Klan robe to criticize her defense of Planned Parenthood.
Newman also has troubling, if murky, links to the murder of Wichita abortion provider George Tiller.
Newman’s Operation Rescue is separate from but related to – in a murky, confusing way –the infamous group of the same name formerly led by Randall Terry, who after protesting George Tiller’s Kansas abortion clinic, did not try to hide his delight at Tiller’s murder. Newman founded his own group called “Operation Rescue” around the time that Terry’s group was dissolving…Newman claims his was the “only organization remaining true to the original work of Operation Rescue,” while Terry claims Newman stole his trademark. But in any case, in the years preceding Tiller’s murder, it was Newman’s group that was the abortion providersgreatest adversary. In fact, as Ms. reported, Newman moved his headquarters to Witchita in 2002 “for the sole purpose of tormenting Dr. Tiller into shuttering his clinic.” Although Newman condemned Tiller’s murderer, Scott Roeder, as a "loon and idiot,” Roeder claimed that he was a donor and supporter of Newman’s group and that he had met with Newman – claims that Newman denies.
But as Sarah Posner has written, Newman wrote a book that seems to advocate for capital punishment for abortion providers:
Newman denied knowing Roeder, or ever meeting him. Yet his book, as Robb points out, is premised on the notion of "bloodguilt," that those who allow abortion are guilty and deserving of God's punishment. In one section, he cites Deuteronomy 21 for the statement that "God's order of law requires that the person directly responsible for murder should pay with his life, lest the land and its inhabitants be brought under the heavy hand of the Lord." He cites this passage to show why Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh deserved the death penalty, but he then segues to a lamentation that "there is nothing being done today to expunge the bloodguilt for the babies being murdered in abortion mills." Elsewhere, in an appendix titled "Bible Study," in a section claiming that the "shedding of innocent blood is murder," Newman writes, "the death penalty for murder is not to be repealed," (citing Numbers 35:29-30) and "all killing is not murder." Capital punishment, self-defense, and just warfare, he maintains, are not murder.
All in all, Troy Newman seems an odd choice to receive an award from a movement that’s trying to soften its hardline image.
peration Rescue President Troy Newman received the lifetime achievement award, after being selected by Dana Cody, executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation.
“He's what I'd call a street fighter, and I say that in the most complimentary sense possible,” Cody said in an emotional speech. “He's done a lot of research in the last few years that has closed a lot of the abortion clinics” that have shut their doors around the country. “He gets results.”
“We can objectively say we are winning this fight,” Newman said. “We can say we're winning, because 73 percent of all the nations' abortion mills have closed – closed and not reopened.”
“When abortion clinics close, that translates into saved babies,” he said.
He noted the change in the way Operation Rescue works stemmed from his own metamorphasis. “I'm sitting in jail” after a protest, he said, “and I thought, 'We don't need to be going to jail. We make the other guys go to jail.' From that day in 1999, we took Operation Rescue from a protest organization to an organization that seeks justice.”
Citing the closure of abortion facilities in Ohio and Indiana, he said victory has come because of “the whole mosaic of the pro-life movement working together toward a common goal. Our goal is to end abortion and save babies. That's it.”
That progressive undermining of the culture of death gradually, but definitively overturns Roe v. Wade, he said. “I don't care what the Supreme Court says. We're doing it right now.”