Troy Newman

Radical Anti-Choice Activist Troy Newman Endorses Trump, Citing His 'Commitments' To The Movement

Troy Newman, the anti-choice activist behind Operation Rescue and the Center for Medical Progress, formally endorsed Donald Trump for president today, writing that “[n]o other GOP ticket in history has made such commitments to the Pro-life Movement.”

Newman’s endorsement is yet another sign that Trump has promised enough to the anti-choice movement to get even the movement’s most extreme activists on his side.

As we wrote in a report on Newman last year:

Troy Newman does not speak in the polished talking points of more prominent anti-abortion leaders. Instead, he pickets in front of schools with posters of aborted fetuses, calls women who have had abortions “murderers,” thinks emergency contraception is also “murder,” and has blamed everything from the AIDS epidemic to the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the current drought in California on God’s disapproval of legal abortion.

Newman has, in recent years, attempted to distance himself from anti-abortion violence, and has never advocated for it directly, but has a troubling history of sympathy for those who take a more violent stand.

Newman’s second in command at Operation Rescue is Cheryl Sullenger, who has spent time in prison for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic. In 2003, after anti-abortion activist Paul Hill shot and killed an abortion provider and his bodyguard in Florida, Newman called Hill a “political prisoner” and said that Hill should have been allowed to argue in court that his crime was justifiable homicide. In a book he published in the early 2000s, Newman wrote that the U.S. was facing God’s judgment in part because the government had “abrogated its responsibility” to execute “convicted” abortion providers.

In a press release announcing his endorsement of Trump, Newman notes that he attended the meeting that Trump held for conservative religious activists in June and writes that Trump’s promise to appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices and his pick of Mike Pence as his running mate were enough to convince him that he will be on the anti-choice movement’s side:

"After examining Trump's position on life issues and his assurances that he will appoint conservative, pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, I am convinced that Trump offers our best hope of pushing back the Culture of Death in America," said Newman. "We know all too well what we will get with Hillary Clinton, and that is more abortion, more tax funding of abortion, and favors for her campaign contributors at Planned Parenthood. A Clinton presidency will result in more dead babies, and this we cannot allow."

Newman understands the moral conflicts some hesitant pro-life adherents have expressed, but warns against sitting out this election or writing in a name with no chance of winning.

"America stands at a crossroads. A Clinton presidency will fundamentally change our nation to the point that is will be unrecognizable to those of us who grew up in the 50's and 60's," said Newman. "Her rabid support for abortion without restriction will create a climate that will make it nearly impossible for us to end the shedding of innocent blood through abortion once and for all.

"On the other hand, Trump has promised to stand strongly for life and appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. His Vice-Presidential running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, is a pro-life warrior who has promised to work toward ending abortion. No other GOP ticket in history has made such commitments to the Pro-life Movement.

Anti-Choice Activists With Extremist Ties Given Top Billing At Values Voter Summit

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to address the Values Voter Summit, an annual Washington, D.C., event hosted by the Family Research Council, tomorrow. In doing so, he’ll be sharing the stage not only with extreme anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim activists, but also with activists who are rooted in the radical fringes of the anti-abortion movement.

Trump will address the summit soon after David and Jason Benham take the stage. The Benhams are twin brothers who became Religious Right megastars in 2014 after HGTV cancelled a show they were set to star in following Right Wing Watch’s revelations about their extreme anti-gay, anti-choice activism.

The Benhams’ status as martyrs within the Religious Right has too often obscured the true radicalism of their activism.

The brothers’ activism is rooted in the work of their father, Flip Benham, a North Carolina preacher who took over the anti-abortion protest group Operation Rescue after the infamous Summer of Mercy, in which anti-abortion activists spent weeks laying siege to Wichita, Kansas, in 1991. Benham later changed the name of his group to Operation Save America and expanded its work to include anti-gay and anti-Muslim activism. (The group is now led by Rusty Thomas, although Benham remains involved.)

David and Jason Benham worked closely with their father and Operation Save America but also became activists in their own right. Leading one protest outside a Charlotte abortion clinic in 2013, David Benham told protesters they were standing against the “gates of hell” and the “altars of Moloch.” He has also called abortion “child sacrifice.” David and his wife lead and fund a Charlotte-based group called Cities4Life that leads sidewalk protests outside of abortion clinics and distributes “abortion pill reversal kits.” On its website, the group compares legal abortion to the Holocaust and explains why it uses graphic signs in its protests:

Women are rarely told the truth about abortion. Without the truth, Satan is free to rob, kill, and destroy. It is urgent for these women to know the truth about this hidden evil, done in secret. We must lay bare the demonic lie that an unborn baby is not a human life. When we shine the light of truth about this “legal” procedure, it wakes up the sleeper and moves them to action.

The Benhams continue to associate with the fringes of the anti-abortion movement that their father represents. This spring, for instance, it was announced that they would appear in a movie directed by Patrick Johnston, an Ohio “personhood” activist. In 2008, the Colorado Independent revealed that Johnston had ties to militia groups and once wrote a troubling essay on the website of the violent anti-abortion network Army of God attacking a pastor for criticizing Paul Hill’s murder of abortion clinic doctor John Britton and his bodyguard.

Also speaking at the Values Voter Summit will be David Daleiden, the young activist who’s undercover “sting” videos of Planned Parenthood took the anti-choice movement by storm last year.

Like the Benhams, Daleiden’s work is rooted in the fringe world of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement. Troy Newman, who runs the group now called Operation Rescue—which has been in a years-long feud with Flip Benham’s Operation Save America over its name—helped Daleiden to get his project off the ground. Newman, who moved his group to Wichita in 2002 in order to go after Dr. George Tiller, who was later assassinated, has written that the U.S. government has “abrogated its responsibility” to execute abortion providers and argued that a man who murdered an abortion provider should have been allowed to argue that the homicide was justifiable. Newman’s second-in-command at Operation Rescue is Cheryl Sullenger, who has spent time in jail for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

The Benhams and Daleiden have both been embraced by the “mainstream” Religious Right despite their roots in the radical fringes of the anti-choice movement. And now all three are speaking alongside the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.

Austin Ruse: Trump 'Will Let Our Side Have What We Want' On Reproductive Rights

A conservative Catholic activist who was at Donald Trump’s meeting with Religious Right leaders in New York last week said on Saturday that while he wasn’t convinced of Trump’s sincerity in opposing abortion rights he was confident that Trump will “let our side do exactly what we want to do” on the issue.

Austin Ruse, who through his group C-Fam works to oppose reproductive rights advances at the United Nations, discussed the meeting with fellow conservative Catholic leader Deal Hudson, who was also at the Trump meeting, on Hudson’s program on Ave Maria Radio on Saturday.

Hudson asked Deal what he thought of Ralph Reed and others saying that Trump is “sincerely pro-life, that it’s not something that’s been an add-on for this election.”

“I’m indifferent to his sincerity,” Ruse said, “because I think that at the end of the day, he will do the right thing because it is what we want. And that gets back to constituencies that he wants to please.”

Ruse said that just as he trusts conservative allies to guide him on issues like economic policy that aren’t his area of expertise, “with regard to the life issues,” Trump will “let our side do exactly what we want to do.”

“These are things that he doesn’t care about,” he said, “and therefore he will let our side have what we want. For instance, if a bill comes to his desk to defund Planned Parenthood, he’s not going to shut the government down to avoid it. I think he’ll sign it because he doesn’t care. That’s what I mean, is that he will step aside on things that — now you say and Ralph Reed says that it’s something that he really does care about. That’s even better news. But even if he doesn’t, as long as he lets us have our way, then that’s fine.”

The anti-abortion movement has largely lined up behind Trump thanks in part to his repeated promises to nominate “pro-life” justices to the Supreme Court. Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of the Susan B. Anthony list and a former Trump critic, is now defending Trump’s anti-abortion bona fides . Troy Newman, the head of the radical group Operation Rescue, came out of the recent meeting with Trump saying that “the general consensus was he’s our man, and we’re going to work for him.”

Hudson also revealed on the program that Trump is planning to announce a Catholic Advisory Board, similar to his Evangelical Advisory Board, which naturally both he and Ruse hoped that they would be on.

Donald Trump Courts Activist Who Wants Abortion Providers Put To Death

During his summit with Religious Right leaders yesterday, Donald Trump took time to meet with Troy Newman, the anti-abortion extremist in charge of Operation Rescue.

Newman, who was the co-chair of Ted Cruz’s Pro-Life Coalition, said that Trump is the only candidate left in the race who will challenge abortion rights. Newman’s deputy Cheryl Sullenger said in a statement that Trump pledged to:

1. Appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices, which have been pre-vetted by the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation.

2. Appoint strong pro-life judges to the Federal Courts.

3. Repeal and replace Obamacare and the abortion mandate that forces the insured to pay for abortions and abortifacient drugs.

4. Actively support and sign into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

5. Defund America’s largest supplier of abortion, Planned Parenthood.

None of these promises is new, as despite media stories about Trump’s supposedly “moderate” social views, the presumptive GOP nominee has been campaigning on his vow to put anti-choice judges on the court, cut access to reproductive services and defund Planned Parenthood as long as it offers abortion care. Trump has renounced his previous support for abortion rights and quickly backtracked after he recently told CBS that he didn’t want to change abortion laws.

Meeting with Newman would go a long way toward shoring up his anti-choice credentials.

Newman spearheaded the recent smear campaign against Planned Parenthood that falsely accused the organization of selling fetal tissue and has built an entire career around harassing abortion providers . Sullenger, his Operation Rescue colleague, even served “time in jail for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic in the 1980s.”

Newman’s views are so extreme that he said a man convicted of murdering an abortion provider was “little more than a political prisoner” who should have been allowed to argue that he was performing a “justifiable defensive action” and “present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day.”

He and Sullenger once wrote at length about why it is a government responsibility to execute abortion providers:

In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.



Rejecting that innocent blood is to reject the only standard that is effective against innocent bloodshed, excluding the lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture.

In the same book, “Their Blood Cries Out,” the two also suggest that women who have had an abortion are “murderesses” who shouldn’t be treated any differently than abortion providers or “any other mother” who killed “any other family member,” and that God is now punishing America for abortion rights with terrorist attacks like 9/11, cancer and HIV/AIDS. The California drought,inclement weather and financial turmoil, according to Newman, are all results of the legalization of abortion.

But, as we’ve said before, there appears to be no one who is too extreme to be embraced by Trump.

Anti-Abortion Extremist Troy Newman Backs Trump

Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue and a driving force behind last year’s series of videos smearing Planned Parenthood, writes today that although Donald Trump “has said and done many things that most Christians would find despicable,” he will vote for him — although not formally endorse him — in the presidential election.

Newman caused some controversy when he was tapped as a leader of an anti-choice coalition on Ted Cruz’s campaign. The anti-choice activist, who has built his career around harassing abortion providers, once wrote that the government has a biblical responsibility to execute abortion providers and had linked legal abortion in the U.S. to the 9/11 attacks, AIDS and the drought in California.

Newman explains his support for Trump using a “pithy acronym” that includes his hope that Trump will “take back the Supreme Court” from one that has “mandated that we purchase a health care product, marry homosexuals, and is now poised to strike down common sense abortion laws” and his admiration for Trump’s “nationalistic fervor.”

As we have been reporting, anti-abortion leaders who previously criticized Trump have been gradually falling in line behind the candidate.

To explain my reasoning, I’ve created a pithy acronym out of Trump’s name. These are the reasons I can vote for Trump, and against Hillary Clinton.

T ake back the Supreme Court. In order for this country to survive, we must dial back the Supremes. In just the last few years the Court has mandated that we purchase a health care product, marry homosexuals, and is now poised to strike down common sense abortion laws. Hillary has promised more of the same; Trump has promised the opposite. So, Trump wins the SCOTUS vote.

R emove and Replace. Trump has pledged to remove and replace the Abortion Cartel Bailout AKA ObamaCare, and the countless bad laws created by Obama and far-left enablers in Congress. Hillary will absolutely maintain and further them.

U ndo! Undo it all. I know Obama ran on “change.” I say change it back! Undo all that “change” and bring America back to some form of sanity. Undo the HHS mandates on abortion subsidies. Undo the EPA mandates that are crippling businesses. Undo the countless, and dare I say illegal, executive orders made by Obama. Trump has a mind to do this.

M ake America Great Again. Trump’s nationalistic fervor is appealing. And, I have to admit I like it. Pro-life legislation will help put America back on track. Obama has been making terrible deals all over the world, and the good ol’ U-S-of-A gets the short end of the stick every time. That must stop. Together, we can make America great again – but not under Hillary. Never under Hillary.

P rosecute Planned Parenthood. We have helped expose the dreadful practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts for a large profit. It’s high time these people are taken off the Federal welfare dole, and Trump, for what it’s worth, has promised to prosecute these monsters. Yes, sir, I’ll take that too. Hillary, on the other hand, we already know is Cecile Richards’ BFF. Absolutely nothing doing if she wins.

These are my five very pragmatic reasons why I can vote FOR Donald Trump and AGAINST Hillary Clinton. I know these reasons don’t take into account whether or not Trump is saved, if he is a good father, or even if he is totally honest in his business deals. But, at least he knows how to make money and balance a checkbook. Something Hillary Clinton has never done.

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/2/16

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/29/16

Abortion Rights Leaders Call On Cruz To Dump Extremist Anti-Choice Adviser

We reported earlier this year that Sen. Ted Cruz had signaled his support for the extremist fringes of the anti-abortion movement by naming Troy Newman, the head of the notorious protest group Operation Rescue who has written that God is punishing America for failing to execute abortion providers, as a national co-chair of a his presidential campaign’s “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition.

Now, as Cruz appears to be attempting to win over women voters with his pick of Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate, the leaders of People For the American Way, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America are urging Cruz to fire Newman from his campaign.

In an open letter to Cruz, the leaders write:

While there are a number of coalition members whose records raise serious concerns, Troy Newman’s history of violent rhetoric and harassment toward women’s health providers is truly beyond the pale.

Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, has written that the U.S. government has a responsibility to execute abortion providers. He has said that a woman who has sought an abortion should be considered a “murderer” and a “contract killer.” Newman has claimed that a man who killed an abortion provider should have been allowed to argue that the killing was “justifiable defensive action.” Newman and his staff have harassed individual women’s clinic workers at their homes, at restaurants and coffee shops, and throughout their communities in an attempt to make them quit their jobs. Newman’s closest associate at Operation Rescue, Cheryl Sullenger, has spent time in federal prison for conspiracy to bomb an abortion clinic.

Especially in an environment where anti-women’s health violence is on the rise, Newman’s extremism and violent rhetoric should be condemned, not given a platform by a major presidential campaign. A report released this month by the National Abortion Federation on threats and violence against abortion providers noted a “dramatic increase in hate speech and internet harassment, death threats, attempted murder, and murder” in 2015, coinciding with the distribution of smear videos intended to demonize providers — videos which Newman was a driving force behind. No patient or provider should have to fear for their life in order to seek or give critical medical care.

We wrote extensively about Newman’s background and views in a report last year linked to his role in creating the Center for Medical Progress’ smear videos about Planned Parenthood.

Rachel Maddow covered Cruz’s embrace of Newman in an extensive segment in November:

Troy Newman Struggles To Explain Position On Abortion Punishment: 'You Have To Draw The Line Somewhere'

Troy Newman, the head of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and co-chair of a “pro-life” coalition for Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, has drawn some heat for a book he wrote in the early 2000s that argued that the U.S. has affronted God by failing to execute abortion providers.

Newman says that he was not actually arguing for the execution of abortion providers but was rather building up an Old Testament case that he then superseded with a New Testament message of mercy and redemption, an argument that he made again in an interview with Alan Colmes yesterday.

Newman, however, struggled to explain to Colmes his case that he doesn’t want a legal punishment for women who have abortions — whom he refers to in his book as “contract killers” — but does want abortion providers to be tried for murder.

“Yes, abortion is murder,” he told Colmes. “You punish the murderers. You punish the murderers, Alan, who are the abortionists.”

“If you’re hiring the murderer, wouldn’t you also be punished?” Colmes asked.

“No, traditionally in America, we’ve never punished a woman because she’s a secondary victim, the first victim is the innocent baby,” Newman responded. He later argued that it’s “more than likely” that a woman who has an abortion has been “coerced.”

When Colmes pressed further, Newman said that “you have to draw the line someplace” and that he draws the line at “punishing the abortionists” and “the likes of Planned Parenthood.”

“What should the punishment be for an abortion provider?” Colmes asked.

“Well, if it’s murder, then they should serve time,” Newman responded, “Whether it’s first, second, third degree, that’s for the courts to decide.”

He added that he was “against the death penalty” and that “life in prison” would be the proper punishment for an abortion provider.

Trump Calls For Women To Face 'Punishment' For Abortion While Cruz Adviser Wrote Of Executing Abortion Providers

Bloomberg reported this afternoon that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, in the taping of an MSNBC town hall meeting that will air tonight, said that not only should abortion be outlawed but there should be a “punishment” for women who obtain illegal abortions.

[Update: Trump’s campaign later changed course and said that abortion laws should only punish providers, saying, “The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb.”]

What happens to women in a regime in which abortion is completely criminalized is the third rail of the “pro-life” movement, and its leaders generally attempt to avoid discussing or to downplay the medical and legal consequences of recriminalizing abortion. Recent cases in which women have been arrested for botched abortion attempts or for “endangering” fetuses, however, expose some of the troubling consequences of laws that place abortion politics over the dignity of women.

Trump may have touched the third rail, but that doesn’t mean that his Republican rivals should not also be pressed on the consequences their “pro-life” policies would have for women.

In particular, Sen. Ted Cruz should face questions about his choice of an anti-choice activist who has taken even more extreme positions than Trump’s to co-chair his “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition.

Troy Newman, who is one of 10 co-chairs of Cruz’s anti-abortion group, argued in a book published in the early 2000s that a society following the wishes of God would execute abortion providers.

And, although he didn’t recommend any specific punishment for women who obtain abortions — and suggested that bringing women to “repentance” was the answer — Newman made it clear that he saw these women as just as culpable in the supposed crime, comparing a woman who has an abortion to a “contract killer” who hires a hitman to take out her husband:

By comparing abortion directly to any other act of premeditated contract killing, it is easy to see that there is no difference in principle. However, in our society, a mother of an aborted baby is considered untouchable where as any other mother, killing any other family member, would be called what she is: a murderer.

He wrote that although anti-abortion activists might be inclined to treat women who seek abortions as “victims,” there should be “no comfort” for those women until they admit to themselves that they have committed “murder”:

Those responsible for innocent bloodshed should not be excused or comforted in their sin, yet, as a society, women who have abortions are treated as victims and those who support them in the decision to kill are considered heroes who were willing to stand by their friends or family members during a time of crisis. In reality, the woman is the same as a contract killer, hiring out the murder of her defenseless child, and the supporter is a co-conspirator, aiding and abetting the crime. They believe that their charitable act of lending support will some how make up for their participation in murder. Until they can both face the fact that they bear responsibility for the murder of an innocent child and own up to it, there should be no comfort for them.

Newman won his spot on Cruz’s team after playing an integral role in creating the Center for Medical Progress’ smear of Planned Parenthood.

Conservative Groups Double Down On SCOTUS Obstruction

After President Obama announced his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court today, conservative groups quickly doubled down on their calls for Senate Republicans to block any person the president nominates to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Although a handful of senators are now hinting that they may be willing to at least meet with Garland — who has won praise from Republicans in the past — conservative groups have reiterated their demands that the GOP block his nomination.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice issued a statement repeating his call for “no confirmation proceedings until after the election.” Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver similarly repeated that there should be “no Senate hearing on any Obama nominee.” Concerned Women for America announced that “President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court does not change the fact that the Senate needs to continue to do the proper thing by fulfilling its role of ‘advice and consent’” — by which CWA means blocking a nominee.

Alliance Defending Freedom’s Casey Mattox offered no criticism of Garland himself but claimed that the Obama administration is untrustworthy and so Garland’s nomination should be blocked: “The Obama administration has demonstrated it cannot be trusted to respect the rule of law, the Constitution, and the limits of its own authority. So it should be no surprise that the American people would be highly skeptical that any nominee this president puts forth would be acceptable.”

Heritage Action, which was calling for an end to most judicial and executive branch confirmations even before Scalia’s death, declared that “nothing has changed” with the nomination of Garland and that we areone liberal Justice away from seeing gun rights restricted and partial birth abortion being considered a constitutional right.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council similarly tried to paint Garland as a liberal, saying he is “far from being a consensus nominee,” although he offered no specifics about the “serious questions” he said there were about Garland’s “ability to serve as a constitutionalist.” Kayla Moore, who heads the Foundation for Moral Law, the group founded by her husband Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, also opted for vague and dire warnings, saying that Americans “may very well lose our rights” if Garland is confirmed.

Anti-abortion groups also doubled down on their opposition to any confirmation proceedings, while at the same time struggling to find specific reasons to oppose Garland.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life didn’t bother to criticize Garland at all, writing instead that this is “no time for a lame duck President to push through a judge for a lifetime appointment.” (Never mind that Obama, with nearly a year left in his second term in office, is not a lame duck president.)

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser wrote:

This changes nothing. We do not know this nominee but we do know Barack Obama. Anyone he nominates will join the voting bloc on the Court that consistently upholds abortion on-demand. The President should not be permitted one last opportunity to stack the Court with pro-abortion Justices.

Meanwhile, Americans United for Life dug up this one unconvincing piece of opposition research:

Consider that Judge Garland spoke at a gathering celebrating Linda Greenhouse’s book on Justice Harry Blackmun, Becoming Justice Blackmun. He described the release of the papers of the late Justice Blackmun—the author of one of the Supreme Court’s worst decisions, Roe v. Wade—as a “great gift to the country.”

Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman said his group would oppose any nominee who does not publicly “renounce Roe v. Wade”:

"Millions of lives hang in the balance of each ruling on abortion put forth by the Supreme Court. I refuse to support any nominee - Republican or Democrat - that will not renounce Roe v. Wade and commit to restoring legal protections to the pre-born," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.



"I strongly urge the members of the Judiciary Committee to hold fast to their promise, for the sake of the future of our country and the future of our posterity," said Newman. "The Senate Republican leadership cannot afford to break this important promise to their conservative, pro-life base, if they expect us to vote for any of them ever again."

Gun groups also came out swinging against Garland, with the National Rifle Association claiming that he “ does not respect our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense” and Gun Owners of America colorfully calling on the Senate to “bury this nomination and write ‘Dead On Arrival’ as its epitaph.” Both groups based their objections on Garland’s vote, as a D.C. Circuit judge, simply to rehear an important gun rights case.

The Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino — who previously called Garland a “best case scenario” Obama nominee to the Supreme Court — has been relying on thesame flimsy criticism to attack Garland.

We’ll update this post with more reactions as they come in.

This post has been updated.

Conservative Groups Circle The Wagons On SCOTUS Obstruction

When the news broke of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on Saturday, Republicans in the Senate almost immediately vowed to block the nomination of any person President Obama puts forward to fill the empty Supreme Court seat.

Conservative groups quickly followed suit, putting forward various rationales for keeping a Supreme Court seat open for more than a year in the hopes that a Republican is elected president in November.

Some of these activists made variations on the false claim that the Senate never confirms judicial nominees during election years. Others warned of dire consequences for America if the president is allowed a Supreme Court pick. One activist going so far as to claim that Scalia’s seat should be kept vacant in perpetuity until a Republican is elected president.

Conservative legal activist Ed Whelan said it would be “grossly irresponsible” to let Obama pick the next justice:

Senate Republicans would be grossly irresponsible to allow President Obama, in the last months of his presidency, to cement a liberal majority that will wreak havoc on the Constitution. Let the people decide in November who will select the next justice.

Whelan also told “Breitbart News Daily” that “we are at risk of really losing the Supreme Court and losing the Constitution.”

The American Center for Law and Justice ’s Jay Sekulow said that President Obama was perfectly free to nominate a conservative to replace Scalia:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley are both committed to letting the American people decide at the ballot box this November, letting our 45th President appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement. While President Obama remains free to appoint a conservative committed to upholding the Constitution as his replacement, he has given us no reason to believe he would.

So the American people should get to decide.

This is a prime opportunity for all branches of government to show that we still have a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network (formerly the Judicial Confirmation Network), said President Obama is the “last person” who should be nominating the next Supreme Court justice:

… This president, who has shown such contempt for the Constitution and the laws, is the last person who should be appointing his successor. The American people on both sides of the aisle are disgusted with the status quo in Washington and another nomination by this President would just bring about more of the same. The people’s voice should be heard in November to determine who will appoint the next Supreme Court Justice.”

Mat Staver, head of the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel (which represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and is now representing an anti-Planned Parenthood activist) declared that the “future of the Supreme Court and America” depends on the Senate blocking any Obama nominee:

“With the passing of Justice Scalia, the future of the High Court and the future of America is hanging in the balance. The Senate must not confirm any nominee to the Supreme Court from President Obama. The Senate must hold off any confirmation until the next President is seated. Unfortunately the presidential debates have been more theater and less substance about the real issues surrounding the Supreme Court. The election of the next President has now taken on even greater importance. The future of the Supreme Court and America now depends on the Senate blocking any nominee by President Obama and the people electing the right person to occupy the White House,” said Staver.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins echoed the call to hold Scalia's seat open:

"The Supreme Court has now become the centerpiece in this presidential election. There has not been an election-year nomination in generations and the Senate must not break that trend now. With the election only 269 days away, the people should decide what president should fill this seat," concluded Perkins.

As did the American Family Association’s Buddy Smith:

We cannot allow President Obama to replace him with a judicial activist. Activist judges have mangled the Constitution almost beyond recognition, and we cannot allow Justice Scalia to be replaced by a justice who will continue to shred the Constitution rather than protect it and uphold it.

While the Constitution gives the president the right to nominate Supreme Court justices, it also gives the Senate the right to reject them. The Constitution does not even require an unacceptable nominee be given a vote on the floor.

Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest said, “His loss is tragic, and we hope that when it comes time for the Senate to vote on his replacement, that a worthy successor who can pick up his banner can be found after the election.”

Alan Sears, head of Alliance Defending Freedom, hedged his bets, saying that “it is unlikely that a new justice will be installed prior to the election of our next president.

Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action declared, “The best way to honor Justice Scalia’s legacy is to make sure there is no Obama nominee confirmed by the U.S. Senate.”

Troy Newman, head of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and a member of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, warned that if Obama were to nominate the next justice, America would become a “totalitarian government”:

"With the passing of the esteemed Justice Scalia, America stands at a crossroads. Will she choose the path of fascism or freedom? We are just one Obama appointee away from a totalitarian government. Two years ago, the GOP promised the American people that, if elected, they would thwart Obama's radical leftist agenda. This is the GOP's moment. Will it shine as a light for liberty in this dark moment or will that light be extinguished by political appeasement?" asked Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

John Zmirak, editor of James Robison’s website The Stream, went even further, saying that if the next president is a Democrat, a Republican Senate should still refuse to confirm any of their judicial nominees:

But they should go further. As long as Republicans control the Senate, there is no excuse for any pro-choice, anti-gun rights, anti-marriage justices to be confirmed to our highest court. If, God forbid, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is elected, they should face a Republican Senate — or even a GOP minority — that will obstruct their every judicial appointment, even if it means leaving key seats on national benches empty, for years at a time. As justices retire or die, the court will simply grow smaller. Big deal. America will muddle through. This is the kind of implacable determination that defeated the solidly conservative Justice Bork and got us the muddled Anthony Kennedy — and Casey v. Planned Parenthood and Obergefell. It is time for that worm to turn.

Conservatives must drop the facade of high-minded bipartisanship, which only ever cuts to the left. The courts have staggering power to change our lives, and damage our country. They can kill our nation’s unborn babies, seize our guns and punish our churches. If GOP senators aren’t willing to fight long, hard and relentlessly to stop that from happening, we should find other senators who can, back them in the next primary election, and cripple the re-election of squishy moderate turncoats. A presidential candidate who appreciates all this will get my vote. And I think he’ll earn yours.

Operation Rescue: 'We Are Just One Obama Appointee Away From A Totalitarian Government'

The radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue has joined the many conservative groups urging the Senate to hold the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat open for more than a year in order to prevent President Obama from naming his replacement.

In a press release yesterday, Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman — a leader of Sen. Ted Cruz’s “pro-life” coalition — declared that with the Supreme Court battle, America must choose “fascism of freedom” because the country is “just one Obama appointee away from totalitarian government.”

The group also raised suspicions about the justice’s death, saying that “disturbing conflicting reports have surfaced” regarding the circumstances of his death.

Scalia's death has posed an opportunity for Pres. Barack Obama to appoint a replacement for Scalia in this critical election year that would dramatically reshape the Court in a way that would continue protect abortion while threatening precious American freedoms.

Operation Rescue is urging the Senate to allow the next president to make that appointment.

"With the passing of the esteemed Justice Scalia, America stands at a crossroads. Will she choose the path of fascism or freedom? We are just one Obama appointee away from a totalitarian government. Two years ago, the GOP promised the American people that, if elected, they would thwart Obama's radical leftist agenda. This is the GOP's moment. Will it shine as a light for liberty in this dark moment or will that light be extinguished by political appeasement?" asked Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

Now, disturbing conflicting reports have surfaced concerning Justice Scalia's sudden and unexpected death with no autopsy planned.

Operation Rescue calls for a full inquiry into Scalia's death and respectfully requests that an autopsy be performed in order to put to rest unanswered questions regarding his passing.

Beyond The Pale: Ted Cruz Puts Extremists At The Center Of His Campaign

Before winning the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Ted Cruz won a straw poll of Religious Right leaders who were determined to coalesce behind a single candidate before voting went underway. Since then, hardly a week has gone by without the Cruz campaign announcing the support of a new right-wing leader, on top of the campaign’s frequent suggestions that the Texas Republican has divine support for his presidential bid.

It seems that no figure is too extreme to be embraced by Cruz, including those who would wish to see the government putting their adversaries to death.

Last Fall, Cruz appeared in Iowa alongside a pastor who has called for the government to use the death penalty to punish homosexuality. Not stung from the criticism he received for courting the radical pastor, Kevin Swanson, Cruz he later released a statement touting the support of an anti-abortion extremist, Troy Newman, who has said that a just government would punish abortion providers with death. Again facing criticism, Cruz doubled down and appointed Newman co-chair of his “pro-life coalition.”

As it turned out, Newman was just one of the first of many extremists whose support has been touted by Cruz’s campaign.

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT hate group, helped coalesce Religious Right support behind Cruz and campaigned with the senator in Iowa. Cruz apparently sees it as helpful to campaign alongside Perkins, who has defended Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill and claimed that gay rights advocates are pawns of the Devil.

Perkins joined Cruz on the trail in Iowa along with Glenn Beck, the conspiracy theory radio host; David Barton, the right-wing pseudo-historian who heads one of the leading pro-Cruz super PACs and who, like Beck, has declared Cruz to be God’s answer to his prayers; reality TV star Phil Robertson, notorious for making bigoted remarks; James Dobson, the anti-gay radio personality who founded Focus on the Family; Rep. Steve King, the congressman known for his anti-gay and anti-immigrant tirades; Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa political organizer who describes homosexuality as a “public health risk” similar to smoking; and far-right radio broadcaster Steve Deace.

Other endorsers touted by the Cruz campaign have included North Carolina activists who have referred to gay people as Satan’s minions; a North Carolina pastor who has likened gay people to “maggots” and linked them to Ebola; an Oklahoma preacher who warns that homosexuality is part of a demonic communist conspiracy to bring down America; a Virginia radio host who has blamed gays for everything from terrorism to train derailments; and a Virginia lawmaker who has sponsored an assortment of bizarre anti-gay bills.

Most recently, Cruz welcomed the endorsement of Mike Bickle, the leader of a church that many have criticized for using cult-like practices, who has referred to Oprah Winfrey as a harbinger of the Antichrist, called gay rights as a Satanic plot that will usher in the End Times, and explained that Adolf Hitler was raised up by God to be a “hunter” of Jews.

Cruz’s decision to tout such radical activists — not to mention his own extreme policy positions, such as promising to defy the Supreme Court on marriage equality and abortion rights — is no accident, as he is basing his campaign strategy on the hope that he can motivate tens of millions of conservative evangelicals to go to the polls.

With Cruz now seemingly working his way into front-runner status, we fully expect to see him pick up more, and even more radical, Religious Right endorsements as the GOP primary heats up.

Ted Cruz Promotes Anti-Choice Activist Who Wants Abortion Doctors Executed

Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign launched a “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition yesterday, which is to be chaired by the leader of an anti-gay hate group and a radical anti-choice activist who has written that a just society would execute abortion providers.

Tony Perkins, president of the virulently anti-gay Family Research Council, is to chair the group, while Troy Newman of Operation Rescue is one of its 10 co-chairs.

Stunningly, in its short biography of Newman, the Cruz campaign mentions that he is the author of a book called “Their Blood Cries Out”:

Troy Newman is the president of Operation Rescue, one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation and a founding board member for the Center for Medial Progress. He has been involved in the pro-life community for over 20 years, starting in 1991 as the Operation Rescue West president. He is also a published author, having written Their Blood Cries Out and his most recent book Abortion Free.

We have reviewed both “Abortion Free” and “Their Blood Cries Out” here at Right Wing Watch. In “Their Blood Cries Out,” written in 2000 and revised in 2003, Newman lays out the case for churches to oppose abortion rights, saying that by failing to follow what he says is the biblical response to abortion — executing abortion providers and treating women who have abortions as “murderers” — the country is mired in “bloodguilt” and is awaiting the judgment of God. In the meantime, Newman writes, the U.S. has experienced “warnings” from God about legal abortion, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

More recently, Newman has alleged that the drought in California is a result of that state’s liberal abortion laws:

Newman has recently gained prominence in the anti-choice movement thanks to his role in starting the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind a series of videos attacking Planned Parenthood. (The group’s leader, David Daleiden, is currently facing a felony indictment related to his attempt to infiltrate the health care provider.) Newman has said that the goal of the project was to “destroy” Planned Parenthood, part of his long campaign of harassment and intimidation against the group and other abortion providers.

Although he renounces extrajudicial violence against abortion providers, Newman has argued that the murderer of an abortion provider in Florida should have been able to argue that the act was justifiable homicide meant to “save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day.” When another abortion provider died of leukemia, Newman put out a press release rejoicing in his death. Newman's second-in-command at Operation Rescue is Cheryl Sullenger, who spent time in federal prison in the 1980s for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

Perkins, although he is most infamous for his over-the-top anti-gay activism, has similarly warned that God will judge America for legal abortion and implied that Christians who support abortion rights aren’t true believers.

Three Big Lies From Conservatives About The Planned Parenthood Case

On Monday, the work of an anti-choice group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) backfired badly when its attempt to launch criminal proceedings against Planned Parenthood ended up with its leader, David Daleiden, along with a fellow activist getting indicted by a Texas grand jury, which in turn cleared Planned Parenthood of alleged wrongdoings.

A small number of Planned Parenthood clinics — "just 1% [of clinics] are involved with fetal tissue research," according to Planned Parenthood — donate fetal tissue for research that many scientists have credited with important breakthroughs in vaccines and other medical treatments.

CMP activists, posing as representatives of a biomedical company, claimed that they recorded Planned Parenthood officials admitting to making a profit off those donations, a criminal act. However, there is no evidence any official from the organization made such a statement, although they did mention fees covering the costs of storage and transportation.

CMP's videos, as it turned out, were manipulated to make it seem that the officials wanted to make money. FactCheck.org explained that "the full, unedited video they cite as evidence shows a Planned Parenthood executive repeatedly saying its clinics want to cover their costs, not make money, when donating fetal tissue from abortions for scientific research." Planned Parenthood has since stated that it will no longer accept such reimbursements at all.

Despite the flimsy evidence presented in CMP’s videos, Republican politicians in Congress and throughout the country seized on Daleiden’s claims and launched investigations into Planned Parenthood fetal tissue donation practices. Not a single investigation that has been completed so far has founded any evidence of wrongdoings. Texas was one of several states where politicians called for investigations into Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue donation program.

Which brings us back to the indictments.

The New York Times notes that the case in Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, "started in August, when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican and an outspoken opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood, asked [Republican district attorney Devon] Anderson to open a criminal investigation into the organization."

In the end, the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood but indicted CMP founder David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt on felony charges of tampering with government records. Daleiden also faces a misdemeanor charge of attempting to purchase human organs.

While the indictments further discredit CMP's work, abortion-rights opponents are relishing the opportunity to portray Daleiden as a martyr and hero of the cause. As Miranda pointed out yesterday, "arrest and jail time for violation of what they see as unjust laws is a badge of honor" for many in the anti-choice movement. And as expected, Daleiden’s supporters on the Right are using the indictments as an opening to spread even more misinformation.

1) Daleiden Is A Journalist

Following news of the indictments, Daleiden called himself an "investigative journalist," tweeting that Planned Parenthood's local affiliate is "trying to jail investigative journalism." (Never mind that it was actually an anti-Planned Parenthood politician who launched the probe that ensnared him).

Sorry, but Daleiden isn't exactly aiming for a Pulitzer.

For starters, CMP did not originally describe itself as a journalistic outlet. It was only around the time the group started releasing its videos that it updated its website's “About Us” page to say that it was comprised of "citizen journalists."

Daleiden himself served as a staffer for the anti-abortion group Live Action, which has its own history of launching sham investigations of Planned Parenthood, and said he wanted CMP to emulate a similar 1999 anti-Planned Parenthood sting by the anti-choice organization Life Dynamics. That scheme fell apart because Life Dynamics paid a witness for their testimony.

Troy Newman, a CMP board member, is a longtime anti-abortion activist with the group Operation Rescue. He told fellow activists that when Daleiden approached him about the project, the goal wasn't to follow the facts where they lead, as journalists do, but to put Planned Parenthood officials behind bars and "destroy" the group. In fact, Newman said that CMP's venture would be a failure if it only succeeded in drawing the attention of members of the press and did not lead to prosecutions of Planned Parenthood officials.

Newman told a church audience in September: "We said, ‘Look, if we just get on Fox News’ — and we were on Fox News, we were on there a couple weeks ago — ‘if we just got a bunch of YouTube video hits or something, if, you know, people are talking about — we would consider it a failure.’ The first and foremost thing is we wanted prosecutions. We want prosecutions, want to defund them, and, finally, we want to completely destroy the entity called Planned Parenthood. And we’re well on our way."

Cheryl Sullenger, Newman's deputy at Operation Rescue who co-authored a book with him that called for abortion doctors to face the death penalty and was once convicted for involvement in a plot to bomb an abortion clinic, similarly revealed how Daleiden approached Newman about how best to go about "obtaining criminal prosecutions" against Planned Parenthood officials and ultimately "put an end to the abortion industry in America.":

About three years ago, David Daleiden came here to Wichita and actually visited us in our office, and he had discussions with Troy about his visions for this undercover project. … David was really motivated to conduct a long-term investigative study of Planned Parenthood and their practices regarding the buying and selling of aborted baby remains. And the reason that he came to us was because he shared our vision for obtaining criminal prosecutions and really doing something substantial to report these abuses, document and report them, and bring an end to not only these practices, but an end to the abortion industry in America. And he knew if he focused on Planned Parenthood that would be probably the most powerful way to do that.

Daleiden is not an “investigative journalist.” He is an anti-abortion activist who is now trying to pose as a journalist.

This detail is particularly important because the grand jury's felony indictment stemmed from the contention that Daleiden and his colleague used fake IDs with an "intent to cause harm."

2) Indictment Proves Planned Parenthood Was Selling Human Tissue

Anti-choice activists have jumped on the misdemeanor charge that Daleiden faces for attempting to purchase human organs, saying that the charge in turn proves that Planned Parenthood was selling organs.

The Resurgent, a right-wing blog, called the charge a "gift" to the anti-choice movement because it "proves" that Planned Parenthood was selling tissue all along.

This is a big distortion of the case.

Daleiden did send Planned Parenthood an email asking to purchase fetal tissue for $1,600.

However, Planned Parenthood never responded to his offer ... because Planned Parenthood doesn't sell fetal tissue.

"Whether Daleiden actually intended to buy tissue doesn’t matter in the eyes of Texas law," the Washington Post points out. "The inquiry alone could have spurred the misdemeanor charge. Authorities don’t need to see evidence of a deal or interest from another party to pursue the charge."

To say that Planned Parenthood is guilty of breaking the law simply because Daleiden asked them to break the law, without success, may be one of the most absurd claims that has emerged following the indictments.

Anti-choice groups used similar logic when Planned Parenthood announced that it would cease collecting legal reimbursements for fetal tissue, claiming that the move somehow proved that Planned Parenthood was collecting illegal reimbursements all along.

3) Planned Parenthood-Linked Attorney 'Tainted' The Investigation

Surprised by the indictments and still unable to prove that Planned Parenthood committed any wrongdoings, now anti-choice activists are contending that the district attorney's office that brought the grand jury investigation must be at fault. After all, the grand jury didn't accept the movement's narrative that, as Ted Cruz put it, Planned Parenthood "confesses to multiple felonies."

The conservative outlet the Federalist thought it found quite the scoop when it reported that one of the prosecutors working in the district attorney's office was a local Planned Parenthood board member, posting an image of her LinkedIn page as damning evidence of misconduct.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative legal group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, said that the case may been "tainted" by this alleged "conflict of interest."

Except that the assistant district attorney in question had nothing to do with the investigation, and she personally revealed her connection to the organization at the very beginning of the inquiry. No LinkedIn screenshot was needed, as a simple Google search would do.

When the Houston case started in August, the attorney who serves on a local Planned Parenthood board  disclosed the connection herself and the district attorney announced that she would “not be involved in any manner in this investigation." At the time, one Texas Republican lawmaker praised the decision to "insulate that person from any involvement with the ongoing investigation."

Even the Blaze, the conservative website launched by Glenn Beck, reported on the non-issue back in August, noting that "office spokesman Jeff McShan told TheBlaze that approximately 300 prosecutors and 700 employees work for the Harris County DA’s office."

The smoking gun that may have "tainted" the investigation was actually disclosed from the get-go, and the attorney, one of around 300 in the office, had no involvement in the proceedings.

But none of these misleading and blatantly false claims should surprise anyone.

The CMP probe was always a sham, but that didn’t stop Republican politicians and conservative media pundits from running with the group's discredited "findings." Some, such as Carly Fiorina, even added a few of their own false claims to boot.

Since they appear to be immune to facts, including the outcomes of the many investigations from both government bodies and actual journalists that have already cleared Planned Parenthood, it is no wonder that CMP's defenders are twisting the truth now that it turns out that Daleiden and his CMP colleague, rather than Planned Parenthood officials, are facing indictments.

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/20/16

Anti-Choice Group Working To 'Unleash A Whole Army Of David Daleidens'

The anti-choice activist in Texas who inspired David Daleiden’s sham “baby parts” investigation of Planned Parenthood is launching a project to “unleash a whole army of David Daleidens” to spy on abortion providers “in every part of the country.”

Mark Crutcher, the president of Life Dynamics, announced in a local radio interview with Cleveland Right to Life’s Molly Smith earlier this month that he is in the process of building a facility and developing a curriculum to conduct “professional training to help pro-lifers understand how to go inside the very cloistered and very closed abortion industry and bring out their dirty little secrets.”

Daleiden’s futile effort to catch Planned Parenthood breaking federal laws on handing fetal tissue was modeled on a similar project Crutcher conducted in 2000. When he was initially planning his anti-Planned Parenthood project, Daleiden took his “6-foot, 30-pound black-throated monitor lizard” on a cross-country road trip to meet with Crutcher and with Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who eventually became one of three board members of his Center for Medical Progress.

Crutcher, who pioneered the strategy of recruiting what he called “spies for life” to find information about abortion providers in order to harass them out of business, told Smith that the fight over abortion rights “is a war, and one aspect of war is intelligence gathering and undercover work — spying, if you will.”

“We’re going to try to create an army of people who are trained in every part of the country, they will be operating any place there’s an abortion clinic, to go into the abortion industry and bring out their dirty little secrets," he said. "And I think that this is going to change the pro-life movement permanently, and I think it’s going to change it in a pretty dramatic way.”

Crutcher reminded listeners that as well as inspiring Daleiden, he trained Live Action’s Lila Rose, who worked with Daleiden on another fruitless “sting” operation against Planned Parenthood in 2011, which was also modeled on Crutcher’s work at Life Dynamics.

“Now what we want to do is unleash a whole army of David Daleidens and Lila Roses and James O’Keefes and people like that around the country,” Crutcher said.

Crutcher also discussed his new book, “Siege: A Pro-Life Field Manual,” in which he argues that the anti-choice movement needs to “start applying basic military strategy” to its efforts.

“The book is called ‘Siege,’ which, of course, is a military term, because I look at this as a war,” he told Smith. "There is a war being waged right now and people need to understand, the war is not between the pro-life side and the pro-abortion side or the pro-choice side, whatever you want to call it. The war is between the abortion lobby and the unborn child. We are simply, basically a volunteer army that signed up to defend those who can’t defend themselves, in other words the unborn child. But that’s where the war is. It’s not between us and our enemies, it’s between our enemies and the babies.”

He said that part of the military mindset that the anti-abortion movement must adopt is to “be aware that there are dangers out there that we haven’t thought about.”

As an example, he presented his theory that Planned Parenthood is secretly “positioning itself to become an agency of the U.S. government.”

“I think that we could very easily look up here one day in the not-too-distant future,” he said, “and see a press conference being called with Barack Obama and beside him would be Cecile Richards from Planned Parenthood and them announcing that a new agency has been formed under the Department of Health and Human Services, it would probably be called something like the U.S. Department of Women and Reproductive Health or something like that, and that the name ‘Planned Parenthood’ is going away and that Planned Parenthood is now an agency of the government.”

Troy Newman: Sting Videos Designed To 'Completely Destroy' Planned Parenthood

In a sermon at the Springfield, Illinois, iWorship Center in September, Troy Newman told the congregation about his efforts as president of Operation Rescue to end access to abortions.

Newman described the meetings he had with David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress in which they discussed the goals of their debunked “sting” videos of Planned Parenthood, which falsely alleged that the group sells fetal tissue for profit.

“We mapped out this plan, he was going to get up inside [Planned Parenthood] and we talked about how we were going to do it and what the end result was,” Newman said.

Their goal, he explained, was not simply publicity for their anti-choice views, but the total destruction of Planned Parenthood: “We said, ‘Look, if we just get on Fox News’ — and we were on Fox News, we were on there a couple weeks ago — ‘if we just got a bunch of YouTube video hits or something, if, you know, people are talking about - we would consider it a failure.’ The first and foremost thing is we wanted prosecutions. We want prosecutions, want to defund them, and, finally, we want to completely destroy the entity called Planned Parenthood. And we’re well on our way.”

Ted Cruz Hailed Activist Who Wants Abortion Providers Executed Eight Days Before Planned Parenthood Shooting

Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue, has long been known as one of the most radical anti-choice activists in the country, saying that a just government would execute abortion providers and organizing efforts to harass abortion providers and their patients.

But Ted Cruz apparently saw his extremism as a boon, releasing a statement on November 19th touting Newman’s endorsement of his presidential campaign and declaring that America needs more “leaders like Troy Newman.”

In his statement, Cruz made clear that he was touting Newman’s endorsement because of the activist’s role in creating the hoax videos smearing Planned Parenthood for selling “baby parts” for profits. Following the shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, the shooter reportedly told authorities “no more baby parts” after he was apprehended.

Newman has not only opined on the governments duty of “executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people,” but once even claimed that the murderer of an abortion doctor and his bodyguard was a “political prisoner” and victim of “judicial tyranny,” since he was deprived of his “right to present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day.”

Newman coauthored his book calling for the execution of abortion providers and the statement defending the anti-abortion terrorist with his Operation Rescue colleague Cheryl Sullenger, who served “time in jail for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic in the 1980s” but who has since renounced violence.

Newman denounced the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, but his extremist rhetoric towards abortion providers speaks for itself. For example, “Newman has claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and AIDS were both warnings from God about legal abortion in America and attributed a drought in California to the state’s liberal abortion laws, insisting that ‘weather patterns’ and economic instability are connected to legal abortion.”

Another activist whose endorsement Cruz’s campaign recently touted, Flip Benham, was convicted of stalking an abortion provider “after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician’s name and photo on it.”

As Rachel Maddow explained in a recent program, Cruz must explain why he would hail an activist like Newman, a point that speaks volumes following last week’s Planned Parenthood attack.

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Troy Newman Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Tuesday 09/13/2016, 12:58pm
Troy Newman, the anti-choice activist behind Operation Rescue and the Center for Medical Progress, formally endorsed Donald Trump for president today, writing that “[n]o other GOP ticket in history has made such commitments to the Pro-life Movement.” Newman’s endorsement is yet another sign that Trump has promised enough to the anti-choice movement to get even the movement’s most extreme activists on his side. As we wrote in a report on Newman last year: Troy Newman does not speak in the polished talking points of more prominent anti-abortion leaders. Instead, he... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 09/08/2016, 5:21pm
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to address the Values Voter Summit, an annual Washington, D.C., event hosted by the Family Research Council, tomorrow. In doing so, he’ll be sharing the stage not only with extreme anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim activists, but also with activists who are rooted in the radical fringes of the anti-abortion movement. Trump will address the summit soon after David and Jason Benham take the stage. The Benhams are twin brothers who became Religious Right megastars in 2014 after HGTV cancelled a show they were set to star in following... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 06/29/2016, 11:03am
A conservative Catholic activist who was at Donald Trump’s meeting with Religious Right leaders in New York last week said on Saturday that while he wasn’t convinced of Trump’s sincerity in opposing abortion rights he was confident that Trump will “let our side do exactly what we want to do” on the issue. Austin Ruse, who through his group C-Fam works to oppose reproductive rights advances at the United Nations, discussed the meeting with fellow conservative Catholic leader Deal Hudson, who was also at the Trump meeting, on Hudson’s program on Ave Maria... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 06/22/2016, 1:00pm
During his summit with Religious Right leaders yesterday, Donald Trump took time to meet with Troy Newman, the anti-abortion extremist in charge of Operation Rescue. Newman, who was the co-chair of Ted Cruz’s Pro-Life Coalition, said that Trump is the only candidate left in the race who will challenge abortion rights. Newman’s deputy Cheryl Sullenger said in a statement that Trump pledged to: 1. Appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices, which have been pre-vetted by the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. 2. Appoint strong pro-life judges to the Federal Courts... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 05/11/2016, 12:52pm
Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue and a driving force behind last year’s series of videos smearing Planned Parenthood, writes today that although Donald Trump “has said and done many things that most Christians would find despicable,” he will vote for him — although not formally endorse him — in the presidential election. Newman caused some controversy when he was tapped as a leader of an anti-choice coalition on Ted Cruz’s campaign. The anti-choice activist, who has built his career around harassing abortion providers, once wrote that the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 05/02/2016, 5:33pm
Peter Montgomery @ Religion Dispatches: LGBT Editor In Bangladesh Murdered by Islamists—and More, In this Week's Global LGBT Recap. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Running out of options, Ted Cruz moves the goalposts. Eric Hananoki @ Media Matters: Trump Ally Roger Stone Has Repeatedly Urged The Killing Of Public Figures. Lorraine Berry @ Raw Story: Franklin Graham promotes Scientology propaganda in anti-marijuana Facebook rant. Laura Epstein @ Medium: Ted Cruz Needs to #FireTroy, the Dangerous Anti-Choice Leader You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 04/29/2016, 5:33pm
Sharon Kann @ Media Matters: Meet Troy Newman -- The Anti-Choice Extremist PBS Is Hosting To Talk About Guns. Andy Towle @ Towleroad: University of Utah Doesn’t Want You to Know They’re Awarding Honorary Degree to an Anti-LGBT Hate Group Member. Joe Jervis: NOM: We’re So Successful, We’re Out Of Money. Sam Reisman @ Mediaite: Bobby Knight Praises Trump Because He Has ‘the Guts’ to Drop an A-Bomb. Stephen Piggott @ Hatewatch: Is Breitbart.com Becoming the Media Arm of the 'Alt-Right'? MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 04/28/2016, 10:12am
We reported earlier this year that Sen. Ted Cruz had signaled his support for the extremist fringes of the anti-abortion movement by naming Troy Newman, the head of the notorious protest group Operation Rescue who has written that God is punishing America for failing to execute abortion providers, as a national co-chair of a his presidential campaign’s “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition. Now, as Cruz appears to be attempting to win over women voters with his pick of Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate, the leaders of People For the American Way, Planned... MORE >