All about Operation Rescue and their tactics
Here is the text of a leaflet distributed by the Bay Area Coalition
to Stop Operation Rescue:
Pro-Choice Activists Take a Stand
Defend Women's Health Clinics
Stop "Operation Rescue"
What does "pro-choice" mean?
To be "pro-choice" means to support the right of people to their choices
about such things as birth control, abortion, prenatal care, midwifery,
infertility treatment, donor insemination, adoption, childcare, and sexual
To be "pro-choice" means to work to eradicate situations where people are not
offered choices - as in forced sterilization, forced abortion, infant
mortality, forced motherhood, rape, domestic violence, hunger, and the
objectification of women's bodies.
Policies which deny choice are particularly directed toward low income
people, people of color both in the U.S. and around the world, lesbians and
gays, and immigrants. Reproductive choice is an integral part of a larger
political struggle for self-determination.
What is B.A.C.A.O.R.?
The Bay Area Coalition Against Operation Rescue is a community coalition of
pro-choice activists. BACOAR provides political and direct physical support
for women's clinics targeted by anti-abortion blockaders. BACAOR is part of
a nationwide public effort to stop "Operation Rescue" and to defend access to
reproductive health services including abortion and birth control.
Abortion Facts Quiz
True or False (answers at end)
1. In the U.S., legal abortion in the first three months of pregnancy is
seven times more safe than childbirth.
2. Getting a legal abortion does not endanger a woman's ability to bear
children in the future.
3. Complications from botched illegal abortions is the leading cause of death
of women of childbearing age in countries where abortion is illegal.
4. In the U.S., about 30% of all pregnant women choose to terminate their
pregnancies; this amounts to more than 1.5 million abortions performed each
5. The vast majority of women who have had abortions do not regret their
6. In the U.S., the majority of both Catholic and Protestants support legal
abortion as a woman's choice.
7. The majority of "abortion clinics" offer many other services besides
abortion, such as pregnancy tests, gynecology, infertility treatment, and
8. Between 1984 and 1987, more than 77 abortion providers have been the
targets of arson or bombings carried out by the anti-abortion movement in the
9. Wherever public funding for abortion is eliminated, sterilization rates
for poor women and women of color increases dramatically.
10. Historically, governments and church hierarchies have tried to control
sexuality and reproduction most strongly during periods leading up to major
(Answers on next page.)
All are true! Sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control (#1,2);
International Reference Center for Abortion Research (#3); The Alan Gutmacher
Institute (#4); National Abortion Federation (#5,7,8); Gallup Poll (#6);
Committee to Defend Reproductive Rights (#9).
What is "Operation Rescue"?
Operation "Rescue" (OR) is a movement of right wing Christian Fundamentalists
that aims to make abortion illegal and to take away reproductive rights in
general. They claim that to prevent conception and birth is murder. OR uses
a nationwide network of sympathetic churches to organize local followings.
Periodically the group's leadership will arrive in a given city to launch a
one-day to two-week series of actions against abortion providers. OR has
launched attacks in six major cities since May 1988 with arrests ranging from
OR is supported by and immersed in the broader circle of right wing Christian
activists. Randall Terry, the group's leader, has appeared with Pat
Robertson on the "700 Club". Recent P.T.L. support came from Jerry Falwell
who donated $10,000 and officially called for the Christian community to
support OR. Unlike most direct action groups who oppose the law, OR's
tactics are applauded by the far right. The group has an excellent rapport
with most local law enforcement agencies.
OR's leadership distributes false information on the medical and emotional
side effects of abortion to their following and to pregnant women. They use
sensationalistic films to convince Christians that OR's mission is to save
lives (of unborn children) using "civil disobedience."
Don't be fooled by "Operation Rescue's" misuse of words. OR would more
appropriately be named "Operation Harassment". "Pro-life" translates into
"make women die" (from illegal abortions). And the civil disobedience of OR
is just the opposite of the tradition developed by such leaders as Martin
Luther King and Ghandi. Whereas genuine civil disobedience is done to
promote freedom and liberation, blockading women's clinics is done to oppose
reproductive rights and individual choice, to repress sexuality and to
reverse the feminist movement's achievements.
You can help BACAOR protect women's clinics from right-wing harassment by
getting involved in:
BACAOR planning meetings
emergency response network for clinic defense
early morning clinic watches
media outreach and publicity
typesetting and printing
banner and sign making
Support Your Rights! Contact BACAOR, 1820 Franklin St #45, Oakland, CA
94612, (415) 271-8030
What are the issues behind the right wing's attack on abortion?
Attacks on abortion rights are taking place in a climate of growing
repression and reactionary political maneuvering: AIDS quarantine
initiatives, racist violence, attacks on immigrants, opposition to sex
education, increased gay bashing, harassment of youth of color in the name of
a "war on drugs," increased Contra funding, and the promotion of Rambo-style
Right-wing spokespeople reveal how they think abortion relates to their
overall political agenda:
"If women can get abortions, then how can we [men]
control them any more?"
-- an anti-abortionist explaining to the
press why he was picketing a women's
"The abortion issue is the door through which many
people come into conservative politics, but they
don't stop there. Their convictions against abortion
are like the first in a series of dominoes. Then we
lead them to concern about sexual ethics and standards
among young people. This leads to opposition to
secular humanism. Then... we point out that secular
humanism is identified as both the godfather and the
royal road to socialism and communism which points the
way to commitments to minimally regulated free
enterprise at home and to aggressive foreign and
military politics to counter the communist threat
from Russia and its many surrogates."
-- Richard Viguerie, right wing theorist
You can help replace this right wing agenda with a progressive one!
From: [email protected] (Jay Stein)
Subject: My experiences with Operation Rescue
I've just waded through about 600 articles in this newsgroup... quite a
lot to digest. I didn't notice much from anyone who has been part of
OR blockades or who works at clinics. Thought you might be interested
in this one. (if not, there's always 'n' or 'j' or 'k' or...
I have been to several Operation Rescue blockades- in the DC area, New
York and Richmond, Virginia. I've been on the front lines at clinics, at
their prayer rallies and with their leaders. I've met Randall Terry,
Keith Tucci and Bob Jewett. I've even attempted to have discussions with
OR's members, who, though predominantly fundamentalist, attract other
denominations as well. I've had more experience than I care to think about
with what many PCers refer to as "Operation Oppress You" and "Operation
It should be pointed out that my presence is always on the clinics' behalf,
but I do not confront OR members UNLESS they yell at me first and I'm in a
bad mood. :-|
OR has exposed its real personality in true Orwellian fashion time after
excruciating time. During DC Project II a woman was knocked to the ground
and beaten in the face with a flashlight. Pictures were taken of this, but
no action was taken because no one could identify the assailant. In New
York, one man screamed at the top of his voice (and it was *very* loud) at
women in the parking lot, "DON'T LET THEM KILL YOUR BABY! DON'T LET THEM
KILL YOUR BABY!" I know that OR considers abortion murder. But I also know
they think of themselves as compassionate, and there is no way those women
thought he was being compassionate, even if he thought he was. Also in New
York, I asked an OR woman what she thought about clinic bombings. Her response
was ("I swear I'm not making this up" --Dave Barry) that it's okay as long as
nobody's in the clinic. I briefly considered asking her where she lived and
whether anyone was home, but figured she would miss the point. During DC
PROJECT in Washington in 1989, a woman who approached the clinic told OR
blockaders that she had had an abortion the previous day and that it was
urgent for her to be able to go to her next-day followup exam. The blockaders'
response: "There will be no babies killed here today!" (together with arrogant
smirk of accomplishment). Even if this lady had been lying, who would consider
that a compassionate response?
And while I'm kind of on the subject, let's talk non-violence. As we all know,
non-violence is a mindset and it involves more than just not hitting people.
Actually, OR is *not* nonviolent and Randall Terry himself has admitted that
OR will employ non-violence as a "tactic" and if it fails, then it will be
abandoned as a tactic. Quite a departure from the Martin Luther King style
to which he loves to compare himself. Not that others in OR leadership are
any better: Bob Jewett, Keith Tucci's bodyguard, has called PC women names I
will not repeat on USENET. He has threatened to throw a rock through a car's
windshield (with passengers inside) and I have the pictures to prove it. I
personally have been screamed at, grabbed at and called a "devil." I have seen
people hit and physically assaulted-the whole spectrum of assault applies here.
OR PLers have pressed pictures of third-trimester abortions against the
wihndshields of patients' cars while shouting 800-numbers. I'm sorry, but this
is NOT non-violent.
OR's brand of pro-life activism claims to have equal respect for all life. One
of them said explicitly that all HUMAN [emphasis mine] life is of infinite
value to God. When I asked if he supported Capital punishment, his response
was, "Of course." I suppose what he should have said was that all INNOCENT
life is of infinite value. But then that leaves the nasty question of who
People in Operation Rescue seem to lack the emotional "database" required to
make sense of how PCers think. This is not a slur, it simply means that nothing
in their experience has prepared them for the possibility that someone might
examine Christianity and still reject it. To a typical fundamentalist (and also
to many Catholics) PCers know they are wrong but deliberately choose to be Evil.
Also, to them, free will is actually a multiple choice exam - there is only one
correct answer, but you are always free to pick the wrong one. As one person
ironically put it, "God does not want robots."
As for the OR stance on birth control, it's no secret that the only one they
endorse is NFP (I call it the MOMMIE method - use it and you'll be one).
Actually, some won't even allow that- they want abstinence. I had a discussion
with a gentleman who stated that (1)abstinence is the only acceptable form of
birth control; and, (2)sex isn't just for procreation. Am I missing something
or is there an inherent contradiction here?
Hmmm... I hadn't intended for this posting to be so long... I'll stop for now
on the assumption that no one really cares and if I'm wrong someone will email
or post a request for more. I have several pages in diaries about OR, I'm
more than happy to share it.