Leaders of a pro-life organization who were publicly – and wrongly – accused by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., of advocating the execution of abortionists have served him with a letter “seeking a retraction and apology.”
Operation Rescue said Thursday its president, Troy Newman, accompanied by his attorney, Catherine Glenn Foster, visited Blumenthal’s office to deliver the demand.
It was during a confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions that Blumenthal unleashed his false claims.
As WND reported, the pro-life organization has gone to extraordinary lengths to reduce abortion, including purchasing an abortion business to shut down its operations.
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,” Newman said at the time.
Blumenthal’s comments came as Senate Democrats tried to undermine Sessions’ nomination as 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,” the group said.
Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger, in an online report, said the retraction and apology are being sought for “false accusations he leveled against Newman and Operation Rescue.”
The group previously asked Blumenthal to apologize in a Jan 10 tweet:
Sullenger said Fr. Terry Gensemer, director of CEC for Life, also accompanied Newman and Foster.
“The group asked for a meeting with Sen. Blumenthal. After several minutes of waiting, three very unhappy-looking Blumenthal staffers were sent out to meet with them,” she said.
“The demand letter was delivered without incident to the less-than enthusiastic staffers.”
While members of Congress have vast protections for what they say on the House or Senate floor, Blumenthal made the false statement in a tweet.
“It is important to call out falsehoods that can be damaging not just to my reputation, but to the reputation of peaceful pro-life supporters everywhere. There’s enough fake news out there without Sen. Blumenthal adding to it,” said Newman. “The truth is that the real violence takes place inside the abortion facilities where nearly 60 million innocent babies have been brutally killed through the barbaric practice of abortion.”
Blumenthal, meanwhile, proclaimed his support for “last weekend’s raunchy, pro-abortion Women’s March,” Operation Rescue said.
“Blumenthal believes in dignity and rights for everyone except defenseless babies and those who defend them. I call on Sen. Blumenthal to set aside his bigotry and intolerance of pre-born children and denounce of the violence of abortion. I encourage him to work to ensure all Americans are protected without prejudice against those still in the womb,” said Newman.
WND reported the senator displayed a “wanted” poster targeting abortionist George Tiller and falsely attributed it to Operation Rescue.
“This organization never circulated that poster and never called for anyone to harm Dr. Tiller,” the group said.
WND was unable to obtain a response from Blumenthal.
Operation Rescue has endured many unsubstantiated attacks.
In a defense of its work, OR said 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 said.
“Operation Rescue also operates the website AbortionDocs.org, which contains the largest collection of 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,” OR reported.
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 to Australian officials at the time.
The statement notes Newman previously took legal steps to hold accountable people who continue to spread 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.