Operation Rescue, a pro-life organization that goes to extraordinary lengths to reduce abortion, on Tuesday called on Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., to apologize for his statements about the organization at the Senate confirmation hearing for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., as U.S. attorney general.
Among other things, Blumenthal described Operation Rescue “as a group that advocates execution of abortion providers.”
“That was a cheap shot by a hack politician who thinks he can lie about us with impunity and without consequences in order to advance his political agenda,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
“We are considering legal action to protect our good reputation,” said the group, which cooperated with an undercover investigation in 2015 revealing Planned Parenthood’s baby body-parts business.
Blumenthal’s comments came as Senate Democrats tried to undermine Sessions’ nomination to be the nation’s chief law-enforcement officer under Donald Trump.
Operation Rescue said Blumenthal “made completely false and slanderous statement against Operation Rescue and its president, Troy Newman.”
“Blumenthal wrongly described Operation Rescue as a group that advocates execution of abortion providers, when nothing could be further from the truth,” the group said.
“Operation Rescue has a long history of peaceful activism within the law in advocating for innocent life.”
OR noted Blumenthal also displayed a “wanted” poster targeting abortion provider George Tiller and attributed it falsely to Operation Rescue.
“This organization never circulated that poster and never called for anyone to harm Dr. Tiller,” the group said.
OR said Blumenthal also falsely accused the group of calling for the murderer of Dr. Tiller to be treated as a political prisoner.
“Operation Rescue never made any such statement and has always been clear that murder or other violent acts are an unacceptable means of advocacy,” the group said.
“We call on Sen. Blumenthal to retract his false and slanderous statements and issue a public apology to Operation Rescue and Troy Newman.”
WND contacted Blumenthal’s Washington office for comment but couldn’t even leave a message because the mailbox was full.
At his Hartford office, a receptionist told WND to submit the question by email, which was done.
There was no response.
Operation Rescue — which once bought an abortion business to shut down the building and turn it into offices — has endured many unsubstantiated attacks.
In a defense of its work, OR says that accusations it supports violence against abortion providers are a “gross mischaracterization” of its position.
“Operation Rescue was among the first to denounce the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller in 2009. All accusations, implications, or inferences that there was any involvement by Operation Rescue in the death of George Tiller is completely false. Operation Rescue and its staff were not involved in any way. Operation Rescue explicitly denounces violence in any form as a means of ending abortion,” the statement says.
“Operation Rescue also operates the website AbortionDocs.org, which is contains the largest collection on documentation on abortion abuses that is available online. From its inception, that website has contained the following statement on violence: This site is meant for informational purposes to aid in the end of abortion through peaceful, legal means. It is in no way meant to encourage or incite violence of any kind against abortion clinics, abortionists, or their staff. We denounce acts of violence against abortion clinics and providers in the strongest terms.”
Operation Rescue also was previously attacked by Terri Butler of the Australian parliament by using out-of-context statements from a book about the Old Testament’s practices for dealing with the death of an innocent person.
“In that book, which was a theological study of the biblical doctrine of bloodguilt, Newman and Sullenger discuss the Old Testament principle that required those who commit murder should be sentenced to death by a court of justice. They surmised that if indeed abortion is murder, then it would be acceptable, based on the Old Testament teachings, for governments to treat it as it does any other murder with those convicted through a court of law subject to the same punishments other murderers would face, including capital punishment.”
But the explanation notes Butler refused to mention “later chapters in that now out of print book referenced the New Testament concept that mercy is preferable to judgment, and that repentance and restoration is available through Jesus Christ to all men who seek it.”
“There is a distinct difference between saying that the Bible gives the authority to governments to execute justice, as we explained in the book, and advocating that individuals commit murder of abortion providers, as Ms. Butler erroneously has accused Mr. Newman of doing,” Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger wrote in a letter Australian officials at the time.
The statement notes Newman previously took legal steps to hold accountable those who continue to spread these falsehoods.
“For example, when Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, appeared on the July 26, 2015, edition of ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulus,’ she attacked Newman and wrongly accused him of being ‘behind’ acts of violence, including ‘the bombing of clinics, the murder of doctors in their homes, and in their churches.'”
Newman’s attorneys dispatched a cease-and-desist letter to Richards and ABC.