On September 13, anti-abortion extremist Troy Newman endorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, citing concerns that “a [Hillary] Clinton presidency will result in more dead babies.” Newman has a long history of anti-choice extremism and targeted harassment of abortion providers -- including involvement with the discredited Center for Medical Progress and leadership of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Newman’s endorsement represents the latest step in anti-LGBT hate group leader Tony Perkins’ efforts to help Trump court evangelical voters.
After Supporting Sen. Ted Cruz’s Unsuccessful Presidential Bid, Anti-Choice Extremist Troy Newman Endorses Donald Trump
Troy Newman Announces Support For Donald Trump Because “A Clinton Presidency Will Result In More Dead Babies.” After previously supporting Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination, anti-choice extremist Troy Newman announced his support for nominee Donald Trump. In a September 13 press release, Newman argued that because of “Trump’s position on life issues” and promise to nominate anti-choice justices to the Supreme Court, his candidacy is the best chance to defeat the “Culture of Death in America” that he alleged Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is championing. Newman explained that although “no political candidate is a perfect person” he was endorsing Trump because “A Clinton presidency will result in more dead babies, [which] we cannot allow”:
Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, is pleased to announce today his endorsement of Donald J. Trump for President of the United States. Operation Rescue is a cutting-edge pro-life organization based in Wichita, Kansas, which works through peaceful, legal means to expose abortion abuses and end abortion.
Newman is a leading pro-life activist, speaker, and author who, during the primary season, actively supported the candidacy of Sen. Ted Cruz. Once Cruz suspended his campaign, Newman took a hard look at Trump, even attending a meeting with Trump and religious leaders in New York City on June 21, 2016.
“After examining Trump’s position on life issues and his assurances that he will appoint conservative, pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, I am convinced that Trump offers our best hope of pushing back the Culture of Death in America,” said Newman. “We know all too well what we will get with Hillary Clinton, and that is more abortion, more tax funding of abortion, and favors for her campaign contributors at Planned Parenthood. A Clinton presidency will result in more dead babies, and this we cannot allow.”
Newman understands the moral conflicts some hesitant pro-life adherents have expressed, but warns against sitting out this election or writing in a name with no chance of winning. [Operation Rescue, 9/13/16]
Endorsement Follows Push By Anti-LGBT Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins To Help Trump Court Evangelical Voters. As reported by Media Matters, Tony Perkins, the leader of the LGBT hate group Family Research Council (FRC), has become an outspoken Trump supporter. Perkins invited Trump to headline his Values Voter Summit on September 9, which marked the first time a Republican presidential nominee addressed the summit since its creation in 2006. After Cruz dropped his presidential bid, Perkins began supporting Trump and attempted to portray the nominee as a “teachable” candidate who would allow Perkins to “shape the outcome” of the election. [Media Matters, 9/8/16]
Newman Has A History Of Leading Or Participating In Extreme Anti-Abortion Groups. Newman is best known for his leadership of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and his role as a founding board member of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). In the summer of 2015, CMP and its founder David Daleiden released a series of deceptively edited videos alleging Planned Parenthood profited from selling fetal tissue. Scores of media outlets have confirmed that the footage shows no illegal behavior by, or on behalf of, Planned Parenthood, and that the words of Planned Parenthood personnel who were secretly filmed have been “grossly [taken] out of context.” Similarly, a growing number of state investigations have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing. [Media Matters, 8/24/16; 8/31/15; 7/21/15]
Newman And His Organization Have A History Of Harassing Abortion Providers And Endorsing Violent Rhetoric Against Them
1. Newman Has A History Of Harassing, Denigrating Abortion Providers
Newman Said Shooting At Planned Parenthood Clinic Was “Exactly What” Abortion Providers Have “Been Hoping For” Because It Lets Them Play “The Victims.” On November 27, 2015, suspected shooter Robert Lewis Dear Jr. killed three people and injured several more at a Colorado Planned Parenthood health center. During a November 30 interview on The Drew Mariani Show, Newman claimed that Planned Parenthood was thankful for the deadly attack because the group could now portray itself as “the victims.” When asked by the host if the shooting was “helpful to Planned Parenthood” and its image, Newman responded that it was “exactly what they’ve been hoping for.” [Media Matters, 12/2/15]
Wash. Post: Newman Is “One Of The Nation's Most Controversial Antiabortion Activists.” The Washington Post wrote that Newman has made remarks “apparently praising the killing of abortion doctors” among other extreme statements:
Newman is president of Operation Rescue, a group devoted to shuttering abortion clinics. He also serves as one of three board members of the Center for Medical Progress, the little-known California group behind a video project targeting Planned Parenthood over its fetal tissue donation program.
Newman has long been one of the nation's most controversial antiabortion activists, in part because of remarks he has made apparently praising the killing of abortion doctors and calling women who have abortions “murderers.”
Newman also says he is nonviolent and has taken credit for steering his organization away from civil disobedience toward lawful activity. [The Washington Post, 10/2/15]
Newman Claimed The Killer Of An Abortion Doctor Should Have Been Able To Argue The Slaying Was A “Justifiable Defensive Action.” In 2003, Newman issued a press release defending Paul Jennings Hill, who was executed by lethal injection for murdering abortion doctor John Britton and his clinic escort James Barrett. Newman argued that Hill should have been able to defend himself by arguing that it was “necessary” to kill Britton and Barrett to save other lives:
"Today's scheduled execution of Paul Hill is not justice, but is another example of the judicial tyranny that is gripping our nation. A Florida judge denied Rev. Hill his right to present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day. Our system of justice is based upon 'innocent until proven guilty,' but in Rev. Hill's case, there was no justice because the court prevented him from presenting the legal defense that his conduct was justifiable defensive action.
“There are many examples where taking the life in defense of innocent human beings is legally justified and permissible under the law. Paul Hill should have been given the opportunity to defend himself with the defense of his choosing in a court of law. [Operation Rescue West, 9/3/03, via Media Matters, 7/15/15]
Australia Canceled Newman's Visa Over “Concerns That He Might Encourage Violence Against Abortion Providers Or Women Seeking The Procedure.” The New York Times reported in October 2015 that Newman’s visa to Australia was canceled over concerns that he “might encourage violence against abortion providers or women seeking the procedure”:
Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, had been scheduled to begin a speaking tour in Australia on Friday. But immigration officials canceled his visa before he left the United States after Australian politicians raised concerns that he might encourage violence against abortion providers or women seeking the procedure.
He managed to board a flight from Los Angeles despite not having a valid visa but was detained by immigration officers at Melbourne Airport while trying to enter the country on Thursday.
Terri Butler, a Labor member of the Australian Parliament, had called for the government to revoke Mr. Newman's visa this week. In a letter to Mr. Dutton, she cited passages from a book that Mr. Newman co-wrote that called for abortion doctors to be executed. [The New York Times, 10/2/15]
Newman Wrote That The U.S. Government “Abrogated Its Responsibility To Properly Deal With The Blood-Guilty. This Responsibility Rightly Involves Executing Convicted Murderers, Including Abortionists, For Their Crimes.” Right Wing Watch noted that Newman wrote about his beliefs about Scripture and abortion providers in the 2003 version of his book Their Blood Cries Out. Although Operation Rescue maintains that Newman has “never advocated violence against abortion providers or facilities,” excerpts from his book suggest that he believes abortion is a crime on par with murder and that it should be convicted as such to “expunge the bloodguilt from the land and people.” From Their Blood Cries Out:
When moms, dads, abortionists are added together, well over 100,000,000 people bear personal bloodguilt for at least one abortion. The doctrine of community bloodguilt found in Scripture further implicates the entire nation. The perpetrators are far too numerous and the bloodguilt has spread too far. We deserve God's judgment.
In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people. Instead, the act of abortion has been elevated to a “God-given right” and the abortionists canonized as saints. Consequently, the entire nation has the blood-red stain of the lives of the innocent upon its head. [Their Blood Cries Out, via Right Wing Watch, 10/1/15]
Newman Reportedly Suggested 9/11 And AIDS Were God's Warnings About Abortion. Right Wing Watch wrote that Their Blood Cries Out includes a warning that God is judging the country for abortion, saying that judgment is evident in “calamities such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the AIDS epidemic,” in Right Wing Watch’s words:
After concluding that “judgment for America is a foreseeable inevitability” because of legal abortion, Newman explores what that judgment might look like. He posits that God is already “warning this nation, preparing her for a day of reckoning” through everything from road rage to terrorist attacks to AIDS:
It is possible that America is already within the clutches of remedial judgment. One needs only to analyze the current societal dilemmas to see the hand of God moving upon our land. The historical record of the Bible shows that God chastens before He sends cataclysmic destruction.
Listing a parade of current “societal dilemmas,” including the “drug epidemic,” “school shootings,” “unbridled pornography,” “divorce, marital infidelity, and rebellious children,” “terrible violence, from rape to road rage” and “unprecedented terrorist attacks,” Newman writes, “In all of these, it may be that God is showing that His hand of protection is being withdrawn.” [Right Wing Watch, 9/14/15]
2. Operation Rescue Employs extremists and Threatens Clinics By “Systematically Harassing Their Employees”
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: “Allies of Dr. Tiller In Kansas Say That Until Recently, Operation Rescue Also Posted Online The Doctor's Real Home Address And The Address Of His Church.” On May 31, 2009, Dr. George Tiller was murdered by Scott Roeder. During the June 3, 2009, edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, host Rachel Maddow reported that Dr. Tiller’s allies said Operation Rescue had posted online the address of Tiller’s church where he was shot and killed:
RACHEL MADDOW: Operation Rescue maintained and still maintains something that they call “Tiller Watch” on their Web site. Allies of Dr. Tiller in Kansas say that until recently, Operation Rescue also posted online the doctor's real home address and the address of his church -- which, of course, is where Dr. Tiller was ultimately murdered this weekend allegedly by Scott Roeder. [MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show, 6/3/09]
Operation Rescue Tries To “Shut Down Abortion Clinics By Systematically Harassing Their Employees Into Quitting.” A 2004 Rolling Stone profile of Operation Rescue describes the organization’s targeted harassment campaign against “Sara Phares, an administrative assistant” and others who worked at Dr. George Tiller’s clinic:
Operation Rescue's smear campaign against [Sara] Phares is part of a new strategy to shut down abortion clinics by systematically harassing their employees into quitting. Banned by law from blockading clinics as it did in its early days, Operation Rescue has taken its offensive to the front lawns and mailboxes of clinic workers. In Wichita, members of the group rummage through employees' garbage in search of incriminating information. They tail them around town as they run errands. They picket clinic staffers at restaurants while they're inside having dinner and castigate them while they're standing in line at Starbucks. Operation Rescue is also visiting companies that do business with the clinic and threatening them with a boycott if they don't sever their ties with the facility. This is America's new abortion war, and the objective, in military terms, is to cut off the supply lines to abortion clinics and demoralize their troops.
Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue, calls it the Year of Rebuke -- and if it works in Wichita, he plans to unleash the campaign of intimidation on abortion clinics all across the country. “I want these employees to realize that their lives have changed,” he says. “As long as they're embedded in the abortion industry receiving blood money, they can't live a normal life. They just can't.”
When I arrive, Newman and his small staff of zealous pro-lifers are buzzing with the news that the clinic's office manager has quit -- a result, they believe, of their name-and-shame campaign. The manager had been accosted by a neighbor in a grocery store who recognized her from an Operation Rescue flier that featured her photo. “You're that baby killer!” the neighbor screamed at her. Then Newman, through investigative methods he'd rather not reveal, discovered where the woman's husband works. “We think that's what clinched it,” he says. “He probably realized we were going to picket his workplace. I imagine he's the major breadwinner in the family, and he didn't want to risk his job.” [Rolling Stone, 8/19/04, via Internet Archive]
Cheryl Sullenger Was Sentenced To Prison For Conspiring To Bomb An Abortion Clinic. Cheryl Sullenger's Operation Rescue biography states that she is the group's vice president and “has been involved in the pro-life movement since 1984.” That involvement includes attempting to bomb a San Diego abortion clinic in 1987. The Los Angeles Times reported in 1988 of Sullenger's sentencing:
Saying he wanted to set an example for those who would consider breaking the law even for a righteous cause, a federal judge Thursday imposed stiff prison terms on the first of the Rev. Dorman Owens' followers to be sentenced for conspiring to bomb a San Diego abortion clinic.
U.S. District Judge Earl B. Gillam sentenced Cheryl Sullenger, 32, to three years. He sentenced her husband, Randall Sullenger, 35, to an 18-month term--six months of it in a halfway house so he can continue working at a warehouse before leaving for one year in prison.
The Sullengers are the first of eight members of the fundamentalist Bible Missionary Fellowship in Santee to be sentenced for their part in the attempted bombing of the Family Planning Associates Medical Group on July 27. The gasoline bomb failed to go off when wind blew out the fuse. [Operation Rescue, accessed 4/8/16; Los Angeles Times, 5/6/88]
Operation Rescue Claims Pro-Choice People Are Engaged In An “Abortion Holocaust.” The group stated in an August 2008 press release:
For those in the area of Southern California, Operation Rescue invites you to join the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust for a pro-life prophetic outreach at SaddleBack Church, were (sic) Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain will be appearing.
We want to bring a strong pro-life witness to the church community, the media and the nation at the Saddleback Civil Forum, where the eyes of the nation will focus. It doesn't matter if you are a Survivor of the Abortion Holocaust (born after 1973), or born before the American Holocaust began, please invite your friends and come and take a stand for life! [Operation Rescue, 8/11/08]
Harassment, Violence, And Threats Against Abortion Providers And Clinics Are Increasing
National Abortion Federation: In 2015, There Was A “Dramatic Increase In Hate Speech and Internet Harassment, Death Threats, Attempted Murder, And Murder” Of Abortion Providers. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) releases annual statistics quantifying the amount of violence against abortion providers. In its 2015 report, NAF found that there was a “dramatic increase in hate speech and internet harassment, death threats, attempted murder, and murder.” According to NAF, “the sharp rise in threats in violence in 2015 is alarming, and directly correlates” with the release of CMP’s deceptively edited smear videos:
Our 2015 statistics reflect a dramatic increase in hate speech and internet harassment, death threats, attempted murder, and murder, which coincided with the release of heavily-edited, misleading, and inflammatory videos beginning in July. Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 185 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at abortion providers. Three of those murders happened in November 2015, when Robert Dear opened fire at an abortion facility in Colorado Springs, killing three people and wounding nine others. This clinic is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the highly-edited, inflammatory videos. When police arrested Dear, he made a reference to part of the video smear campaign.
The sharp rise in threats and violence in 2015 is alarming, and directly correlates to the release of inflammatory videos aimed at demonizing providers. We cannot continue to allow anti-abortion extremists to use violence to advance their own personal, political agendas. Nor can we continue to allow them to contribute to a climate that encourages violence against abortion providers. We’ve seen firsthand what can happen when abortion providers are targeted and demonized: clinic staff are threatened, facilities are set on fire, and doctors are murdered. Law enforcement and communities across the country need to seriously address these threats so that violence doesn’t continue to escalate. We cannot be silent or ignore this dangerous, unacceptable, and often criminal behavior. [National Abortion Federation, 4/5/16]
FBI Warned About An “Uptick” In Violence. In September 2015, the FBI reportedly released a new intelligence assessment to law enforcement officials across the country, noting the recent increase of violence against abortion providers and warning of a sustained threat. As explained by CBS News on September 19, 2015, the FBI cautioned that “it is likely criminal or suspicious incidents will continue to be directed against reproductive health care providers, their staff and facilities” :
With Congress grappling over the future of funding for Planned Parenthood, CBS News has learned that law enforcement authorities are seeing an uptick in attacks on reproductive health care facilities.
A newly-released FBI Intelligence Assessment says, “it is likely criminal or suspicious incidents will continue to be directed against reproductive health care providers, their staff and facilities,” reports CBS News' Jeff Pegues.
Since the release of the initial video by pro-life organization Center for Medical Progress in July, investigators say there have been nine criminal or suspicious incidents across the country.
The incidents include reported cyber-attacks, threats and arsons. The FBI believes the incidents are, “consistent with the actions of lone offenders using tactics of arsons and threats all of which are typical of the pro-life extremist movement.” [CBS News, 9/19/15]
Vox: “73 Successful Attacks” On Abortion Providers “Since 1997” Show “Violence Against Clinics Is Not” Rare. In a November 27 article for Vox, Sarah Kliff analyzed NAF data and explained that while shootings at clinics are currently rare, overall violence against them is not:
Shootings at abortion clinics are rare. But violence against clinics is not: There have been at least 73 successful attacks on American abortion clinics since 1997, according to the National Abortion Federation.
Forty of those acts of violence were arson attacks, including four in 2012. There have also been 20 attacks aimed at abortion providers themselves with different weapons, either shootings, stabbings, or acid attacks.
The NAF database ends in 2012 -- but more recently, the FBI has reported an uptick in abortion against clinics in the wake of sting videos taped inside Planned Parenthood locations, which purported to show the sale of fetal body parts. [Vox, 11/27/15]