Beware of Randall Terry's New Anti-Abortion Group

| by Jill Stanek

Randall Terry emerged as a charismatic pro-life leader in the 80s, helping advance the "rescue" protest mentality.

Terry dropped out of sight for several reasons, both personal and pragmatic. Blogger Les Femmes has more details on Terry's history as does Austin Ruse at the Catholic News Agency.

One of Terry's pragmatic moves was to shut down the organization he created, Operation Rescue, in the wake of the 1986 NOW vs. Scheidler lawsuit, which came indirectly as a result of Bill Clinton's clampdown on pro-life protesters at abortion mills.

Scheidler actually had nothing to do with the protests for which he was sued.

Terry, who did, was also originally named in the suit. He attempted to bail, first by disbanding OR when legal bills skyrocketed. His attorneys went on to claim in court neither it nor he had any financial obligation since OR no longer existed.

When that didn't work Terry personally bailed....

"The National Organization for Women kept offering settlement opportunities to all of us - to Joe [Scheidler], Tim Murphy, Andy Scholberg and Randy," Ann Scheidler told me this morning.

"The attorneys were required to notify us, and we all dismissed it," said Ann. "But in December 1997 Terry settled with NOW and dropped out. Randy agreed not to block the entrance of abortion clinics or harass women for 12 years, essentially the injunction we ended up with at the end of the trial."

When Terry settled he left the others holding the huge financial bag.

Most in the movement will have nothing to do with Terry, including the Schindler family, who parted company with Terry in the wake of their daughter and sister Terri Schiavo's death when "it became clear that his priorities changed," Bob Schindler, Sr., told me this morning, adding, "His priorities aren't always what they appear to be."

But Terry is back and a pro-life mouthpiece, whether we like it or not. Blogger Hercegovac at Daily Kos had a bit of fun last week covering Terry's press conference no one attended.

But to the point of my post. The Washington Times reported yesterday on a "hastily arranged 'emergency pro-life training conference'" held in DC Saturday of "45 people from 16 cities... all white, nearly all over 40 and mostly Roman Catholic." Speakers included Norma McCorvey and Alan Keyes.

At this meeting Terry announced the formation of a new group, Operation Rescue Insurrecta Nex, "the latter 2 words meaning 'insurrection against death' in Latin - and is trolling for new affiliates," according to WT.

I previously wrote that Terry is in the midst of suing for OR's name, which Troy Newman says Terry gave him when exiting activism. This sounds entirely plausible, particularly given Terry's snarky shutdown of OR to escape the financial obligations of the NOW vs. Scheidler scenario. He admitted in so many words to the WT that he did so "owing to a string of lawsuits from pro-choice groups."

But according to the WT Terry now says "Newman claimed the Operation Rescue title and Mr. Terry is suing to retain it for himself."

I detest the lawsuit but in addition think it bad form if not a trademark violation for Terry to launch a new organization obviously copycatting the name of the organization he is suing to reclaim.

For awhile I was stymied by the fuss over the OR brand but now think I understand. It clicked for me when reading Dan Zanoza's June 1 piece at RFFM.org:

"We're not looking for money," said Terry. "I just want my name back."

Terry also said he believes the loss of the OR trademark is identity theft. "I've attended events where people have asked me if I received their recent donation," added Terry. "I told them 'if you sent a contribution to Wichita, I didn't get it.'"

Terry in one breath said reclaiming the OR brand wasn't about money and in the next said it was.

I previously determined not to discuss Terry again, but his attempt to circumvent a smelly lawsuit he initiated in order to obfuscate and basicallysteal the Operation Rescue brand forces me to speak out again.

The crux of this post: Donors of Terry's new organization beware.