On the same day that Governor Greg Abbott issued the call for a Constitutional Convention, his staff took a meeting with another group whose sole mission is to combat the “tyranny” of the federal government.
Operation Save America, an outgrowth of Operation Rescue, was meeting with Abbott’s staff to promote their Rally the Lesser Magistrate Campaign. Like Governor Abbott, the supporters of the campaign (or “saints,” as they call themselves) believe that the federal government has gone too far and must be challenged. At issue for Abbott and the “saints” are the recognition of gay marriage as the law of the land, and the constitutionally protected right to abortion services.
While much of the Lesser Magistrate Campaign’s recent work has been spent encouraging states to pass laws and resolutions calling the recent Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage null and void, Operation Save America and Operation Rescue are almost exclusively focused on anti-abortion actions in every other program under their control.
Throughout it’s troubling history, Operation Rescue has been associated with violent attacks on abortion clinics and abortion providers, as well as those who seek out abortion services.
Founder and former President Randall Terry was quoted calling the 2009 murder of Dr. Tiller, an abortion provider who had been shot previously in 1993 before his murder at his church, “vengeance” for his work. The anti-choice activist who murdered Tiller was active on Operation Rescue’s message boards, where he received support for his violently anti-abortion beliefs.
In 1988, Operation Rescue’s Senior Political Advisor, Cheryl Sullenger, attempted to bomb an abortion clinic in San Diego.
It should not come as a surprise that Greg Abbott or his staff would meet with such these extremists. And he isn’t the only prominent Texas politician to rub elbows with the violent, anti-abortion group.
Days before the 2015 shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood, Texas Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced that he had been endorsed by Operation Rescue’s president, Troy Newman.
Newman, known for his 2003 book Their Blood Cries Out, in which he calls for the execution of those who perform abortions, is not only the President of Operation Rescue. He was also one of the founders of the Center for Medical Progress – best known for the highly edited and misleading videos that have led to a veritable witch hunt against Planned Parenthood and abortion providers across the country.
While other developed nations are banning Newman and his organization’s harmful and violent anti-choice rhetoric, Greg Abbott’s staff is taking meetings with their political operatives and entertaining discussions on when it is appropriate to overthrow a federal government.
What’s more, even as Abbott and Cruz encourage this violent and extremist rhetoric by association, they continue to distance themselves from any responsibility for its inevitable outcomes.
When the Colorado Springs shooter said he didn’t want any more “baby parts,” Operation Rescue and Ted Cruz denounced the violence as inexcusable, despite the roles they play in stoking the fire of anti-choice terrorism around the country.
Greg Abbott is tasked with working for the best outcomes for all Texans, not just those who agree with him and his Tea Party platforms. By taking meetings with groups like Operation Rescue, he and his staff give a legitimate platform for domestic terror and anti-choice violence – and that is completely unacceptable.