A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post noting that some of Randall Terry’s allies had suddenly started bad mouthing Troy Newman ahead of an anticipated Los Angeles Times article about the war between the two over ownership of the name “Operation Rescue.”
That article was published today and, frankly, neither man comes out looking particularly good:
Years ago, Randall Terry and Troy Newman were brothers in arms in the struggle against legal abortion.
“Troy was my son in the movement,” said Terry, 50, a onetime used-car salesman from upstate New York who founded Operation Rescue in 1986. Terry rose to fame leading clinic blockades until lawsuits, jail terms and finally a stunning 1998 legal settlement forced him to abandon his militant tactics, and he faded from the forefront of the struggle.
Newman, meanwhile, was an up-and-coming activist in San Diego and a spokesman for Operation Rescue there. He admired Terry’s energy, charisma and rhetoric. “Randall was the first guy to say, ‘If abortion is murder, then act like it,’ ” said Newman, now 43, who became president of Operation Rescue West in 1999. “A lot of us concur that God used him at a certain time for certain projects. For a time.”
But today, the two abortion foes are locked in an increasingly nasty battle over ownership of the Operation Rescue name, which Newman trademarked in 2006.
Terry has called his former protege a weasel. Newman has branded Terry a charlatan.
Operation Rescue is a name worth fighting for: Whoever controls it benefits from its unquestionable ability to raise money from those who oppose abortion.
“Why does Troy need my name? What does he get from stealing another man’s heritage? Money and media,” said Terry in a telephone interview from Falls Church, Va. He moved to the Washington suburb from Florida last year in an effort to reestablish himself as a national leader in the antiabortion fight, which has heated up with Democrats in control of the White House and Congress.
Newman, for his part, has accused Terry of being a dilettante and financial failure who hopes to recapture Operation Rescue because it is “the goose that’s laid the golden egg.”
“Randall is articulate and convincing,” Newman said from Wichita, Kan. “But so are used-car salesmen and cult leaders. He is not a true believer but a charlatan, and a manipulator. . . . He shows up at a national event, makes a flamboyant speech, gets everyone within earshot rattled and then passes the collection plate and moves on.”