From Media Matters
As part of their coverage of the Terri Schiavo case, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News devoted substantial airtime to a March 23 demonstration organized by anti-abortion group Operation Rescue/Operation Save America, which was protesting the court-sanctioned removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. But none of the three news outlets provided background on the group, which was founded by anti-abortion extremist and Schindler family spokesman Randall Terry.
Under Terry's leadership, Operation Rescue staged aggressive protests of abortion clinics, including "screaming and pleading with pregnant women to turn away," "toss[ing] their bodies against car doors to keep abortion patients from getting out" and "wav[ing] crucifixes and scream[ing] 'Mommy, Mommy' at the women," according to The Washington Post. The Post further noted that Terry "described Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger, as a 'whore' and an 'adulteress' and arranged to have a dead fetus presented to Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention." The New York Times reported on August 14, 1993, that "[i]n his radio appearances, Mr. Terry said of [abortion provider] Dr. [Warren] Hern: 'I hope someday he is tried for crimes against humanity, and I hope he is executed.' " The Times added that "Coming just five months after an anti-abortion protester [Michael Griffin] shot and killed the doctor [David Gunn] in Florida, Mr. Terry's words were construed by many abortion rights groups as a call to violence." According to an August 7, 1994, report on CBS' 60 Minutes, Terry entreated his followers "to pray for either the salvation or the death" of Hern. The New York Times also noted on November 8, 1998, that Terry "filed for bankruptcy ... in an effort to avoid paying massive debts owed to women's groups and abortion clinics that have sued him."
Currently, Operation Rescue is part of a dual organization, Operation Rescue/Operation Save America. According to a June 22, 2003, article in the Charlotte Observer, the Rev. Phillip "Flip" Benham took over the organization from Terry in 1994 and changed the name to Operation Save America in 1999, though the group "uses the names Operation Rescue and Operation Save America interchangeably in literature." Benham spoke at the March 23 demonstration, and both CNN and Fox News showed his comments live. The article also noted that "[p]hotos showing Benham being arrested at clinic demonstrations hang on his office walls, and he's been jailed for months at a time," adding that under Benham's leadership, "Members' activities range from stroller parades outside abortion clinics to a man who was arrested after he sneaked into a clinic." It also described a T-shirt available for purchase on the group's website:
They are black, with the word "Intolerant" branded across the front in big, white letters. In smaller print is a John 14:6 passage: "I am the way, the truth, the life ..." On the back: "Homosexuality is a sin. Islam is a lie. Abortion is murder. Some issues are just black and white."
None of the networks discussed the group's history or that of either Terry or Benham, and only CNN, which devoted about 20 minutes to covering the protest, identified Benham by name. As Benham spoke loudly to the assembled protesters and media organizations, CNN national correspondent Bob Franken reported live and identified Benham as "a representative of Operation Rescue." Apart from CNN's on-screen digital display, which also noted that Benham was from Operation Rescue, CNN did not mention the group's name again.
MSNBC and Fox News both identified the group only as "Operation Save America." On MSNBC, correspondent Mark Potter reported that "Six members of a group called Operation Save America" were arrested for trespassing when they stepped onto the grounds of the Schiavo's hospice. Potter's report lasted about two minutes and provided no additional detail on the group's history. Fox News hosts consistently referred to the group as "Operation Save America" during more than 20 minutes of live protest coverage. Fox News' on-screen text displays noted that " 'Operation Save America' will try to bring water to Schiavo" and "'Operation Save America' attempts to bring Terri water" but offered no further detail on the group.
In addition to the above, Operation Rescue as formerly headed by Randall Terry were sued by NOW (National Organization for Women) due to their connection with the murders of abortion doctors, as well as violence and bombings at womens clinics. (The issue was settled out of court)
These actions include the Murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian by Operation Rescue member James Kopp, which was denounced as "Terrorism" by Janet Reno.
The Southern Poverty Law Center notes the activities of various former Operation Rescue members.
Murder and the Theocratic Revolution
By the early 1990s, Michael Bray had come to advocate the murder of abortion doctors and call for theocratic revolution with the aim of instituting biblical law. During the same period, professed AOG member Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, who had earlier launched butyric acid and arson attacks on clinics throughout the western United States, attempted to murder Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kan., wounding him badly.
High-profile murders in the early 1990s marked a turning point in the violence, transforming the movement and riveting the attention of the nation.
In 1993, Dr. David Gunn was shot to death by Rescue America activist Michael Griffin. Paul Hill then became the focus of attention through his efforts to promote the notion that the murder of Dr. Gunn and other abortion providers was "justifiable homicide." Hill received the prominent support of Fr. David Trosch, Bray and 31 others (see Justifiable Homicide: The Signers).
Following Dr. Gunn's murder, Joseph Scheidler presided over a summit meeting of militant pro-life leaders in Chicago to discuss the movement's future. The conclave degenerated into a debate about violence, and led to the formation of the hard-line American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA), many of whose leaders signed the "justifiable homicide" statement. Many ACLA members had previously been prominent in Operation Rescue, the group founded and long headed by Randall Terry.
In 1994, Hill murdered a doctor and his escort outside a Pensacola, Fla., clinic. He drew moral support from the likes of ACLA leader Andrew Burnett, who appeared in one photograph holding a sign reading "Free Paul Hill! JAIL Abortionists." Burnett's magazine, Life Advocate, has been the leading editorial voice of the pro-violence faction.
In 1995, a young, mentally unstable hairdresser named John Salvi shot up two clinics in Brookline, Mass., killing two people and wounding five.
From ProChoice Online.
Link between anti-abortion militants and right-wing militias
Observers of right-wing activities are noting a convergence of philosophy and technique between anti-abortion militancy and extremist militia activity. Bombings at the Atlanta clinic (where a second bomb exploded an hour after the first) are just one example; clinics vandalized with hangman's nooses and bullet- riddled signs, as was done by militia leader Larry Ball at a Lincoln, Nebraska, Planned Parenthood clinic, are another. Look deeper and hear the rhetoric used by extremist militias, radical tax protesters, and extreme anti-choicers merging: Both anti-abortion and militia leaders often cite Roe u Wade and FACE (the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law) as evidence of "anti-Christian" bigotry and defiance of "God's law."
One militia leader has been fined over $500,000 for his participation in abortion blockades with Oregon-based Advocates for Life. This same man also conducted target practice with Shelley Shannon four days before her attempted murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita. Larry Pratt, former Pat Buchanan aide and executive director of Gun Owners of America, a favorite speaker at white supremacist gatherings, raised $150,000 to pay Operation Rescue's bills. Many pro-gun, anti-government zealots have connections to Operation Rescue, and OR activists have demonstrated at the Waco compound.
Meanwhile from CNN, This just in...
... FBI agents have arrested a North Carolina man on suspicion of soliciting offers over the internet to kill Michael Schiavo and [Judge] Greer. Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview is accused of offering $250,000 for the killing of Schiavo and another $50,000 for the "the elimination of the judge who ruled against Terry."
Meywes was arrested without incident at his home around 5 p.m. Friday on charges of solicitation of murder and transmission of a threatening communication via interstate commerce, authorities said.
If convicted, Meywes could face up to 15 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. He is expected to make an initial court appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Asheville, North Carolina.
Greer has been under 24-hour protection by two U.S. marshals due to increased threats against his life by those unhappy with his handling of the Schiavo case.
On Thursday, police arrested an Illinois man they said robbed a gun store in Seminole, Florida, as part of an attempt to "rescue Terri Schiavo."
And this is what we call the actions fo those within the "Culture of Life"? I think it would be better named the Culture of Intolerance, Control and Murder!.