Abor­tion foe Terry eyes ‘new gen­er­a­tion’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY JU­LIA DUIN

Ran­dall Terry, one of the best­known abor­tion op­po­nents in the U.S., launched a new ver­sion of Op­er­a­tion Res­cue over the June 13-14 week­end, call­ing on ac­tivists from across the coun­try to press on de­spite bad pub­lic­ity over the May 31 slay­ing of abor­tion doc­tor Ge­orge Tiller.

Forty-five peo­ple from 16 states met at the Crys­tal City (Va.) Dou­bletree ho­tel June 13 for a hastily ar­ranged “emer­gency pro-life train­ing con­fer­ence” to re­cruit more foot sol­diers in the bat­tle against abor­tion.

“The free­ing mo­ment will come when you de­cide to take a bul­let for this move­ment,” Mr. Terry said in a small ball­room watched over by one se­cu­rity guard. “Then you can’t be bul­lied and in­tim­i­dated into si­lence any­more.”

Mr. Terry has re­named his move­ment Op­er­a­tion Res­cue In­sur­recta Nex — the lat­ter two words mean­ing ‘in­sur­rec­tion against death’ in Latin — and is trolling for new af­fil­i­ates.

“My mis­sion is to raise up a new gen­er­a­tion,” he said, “to re­cruit them, train them and un­leash them.”

He brushes off crit­i­cism that ac­tivists like him cre­ated a cli­mate that goaded the sus­pect in Dr. Tiller’s slay­ing into action.

“You can’t work with me if you can’t say abor­tion is mur­der and child-killers are mur­der­ers,” he said. “You’ve got to be pre­pared to take the heat over those words. The true ter­ror­ists are those who reach into a woman’s womb and kill her child.”

His op­po­nents “refuse to ad­mit that abor­tion is the caul­dron from which evil flows,” he added. “Ge­orge Tiller reaped what he sowed. He was a mur­derer.”

En­er­gized June 12 with speeches by pro-life ac­tivists Alan Keyes and Norma McCor­vey, con­fer­ees watched a four-part film se­ries the fol­low­ing day on pro-life ac­tivism.

Abby Glackin, a mem­ber of Mother Se­ton Catholic Church in Ger­man­town, Md., stashed away four “stu­dent guide” train­ing man­u­als to pass around to church mem­bers.

“I’ve talked a lot about want­ing abor­tion to end,” she said. “I just haven’t done any­thing about it.”

Ed Fad­doul and David Mitchell drove 23 hours from Iowa to at­tend.

“We’re com­mit­ted to end­ing abor­tions in this coun­try,” Mr. Mitchell said. “We want to ac­cel­er­ate the process.”

Ann Ni­colosi-Foose, who said she en­dured heavy traf­fic to drive from Phillips­burg, N.J., shrugged off the in­con­ve­nience.

“We should go to the ends of the Earth to speak up for the un­born,” she said.

Those gath­ered in the ball­room were all white, nearly all over 40 and mostly Ro­man Catholic. Mr. Terry gar­nished his pre­sen­ta­tion with quotes from the late Pope John Paul II, and his ac­com­pa­ny­ing film showed a statue of the Vir­gin Mary and a cru­ci­fix.

“If the Chris­tian world would sim­ply obey the words and mes­sage of ‘Evan­gelium Vi­tae,’ child- killing would have al­ready been oblit­er­ated,” he said, re­fer­ring to John Paul’s 1995 en­cycli­cal on abor­tion, euthana­sia and the death penalty.

Mr. Terry stressed the hard­ships of ac­tivism, such as his five­month stint in fed­eral prison and 40 ar­rests at abor­tion clin­ics.

“We’re looking for he­roes,” he said. “Some­body who’ll do the right thing in the face of hos­til­ity from en­e­mies and mis­un­der­stand­ing by friends.

“Most pro-life peo­ple don’t want to end abor­tion. They just want it to go away. They are be­ing delu­sional. This bat­tle will re­quire enor­mous sac­ri­fice, bad press and hos­til­ity.

“Do we re­ally think we can waltz into hell and take away this crown jewel of Satan without the brawl to end all brawls?”

Mr. Terry has been on the warpath since the mid-1980s when he founded Op­er­a­tion Res­cue. He shut down the or­ga­ni­za­tion in 1991, ow­ing to a string of law­suits from pro-choice groups that even­tu­ally caused him to file bank­ruptcy and lose his home. In re­cent years, a ri­val or­ga­ni­za­tion headed by Troy New­man claimed the Op­er­a­tion Res­cue ti­tle and Mr. Terry is su­ing to re­tain it for him­self.

He has also restaked his claim to lead­er­ship in the na­tional pro­life move­ment, mov­ing his offices tem­po­rar­ily to South Bend, Ind., in March af­ter the Uni­ver­sity of Notre Dame an­nounced that Pres­i­dent Obama would be its May 17 com­mence­ment speaker. He and some fol­low­ers were ar­rested in early May on the cam­pus and charged with tres­pass­ing af­ter po­lice spot­ted them push­ing strollers con­tain­ing dolls cov­ered with fake blood.

Not all Catholics ap­pre­ci­ate his ef­forts.

Catholic Fam­ily and Hu­man Rights In­sti­tute Pres­i­dent Austin Ruse pointed out that Mr. Terry is a re­cent con­vert and “can­not be al­lowed to rep­re­sent him­self as the voice of Catholic or­tho­doxy.”

“The press love it that the P.T. Bar­num of the pro-life move­ment is now front and cen­ter in de­fend­ing the Catholic Church,” he said in a March 30 guest ed­i­to­rial for the Catholic News Agency.

Mr. Terry said he’s now read­ing the writ­ings of mis­sion­ary Amy Carmichael, who bat­tled In­dia’s tem­ple pros­ti­tute sys­tem in the late 19th cen­tury, as well as text by Martin Luther King, Quaker abo­li­tion­ist Levi Cof­fin and so­cial re­former William Lloyd Gar­ri­son for in­spi­ra­tion.

“I’m looking to th­ese peo­ple in the past be­cause I don’t al­ways know what to do,” he con­fessed. “When you be­come an ac­tivist, there is a change in your friends, a change of your church. You be­come the odd man out; the lu­natic, the per­son not asked to par­ties.”

J.M. ED­DINS JR. / THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

Op­er­a­tion Res­cue founder Ran­dall Terry has called on anti-abor­tion ac­tivists to press on af­ter the slay­ing of Dr. Ge­orge Tiller.

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