An Aug. 6 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh touts how "Troy Newman, head of Operation Rescue, has dispatched a cease and desist letter to [Cecile] Richards and Planned Parenthood":
“I cannot stand by while Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards and ABC News air false allegations against me that are now being repeated as fact in numerous news sources,” Newman said in a press release.
“I have never condoned violence against abortion providers or businesses and Richards’ patently false statements against me must be retracted,” he said.
Well, that's demonstrably false. As we've documented, Newman is on record at least twice as condoning violence against abortion providers -- once in a 2003 press release lamenting that a court barred a proposed defense in Paul Hill's trial for murder of an abortion doctor that would have allowed him to claim it was a " justifiable defensive action," and in a conversation with Scott Roeder, killer of George Tiller, in which Roeder claims Newman said that it “wouldnʼt upset” him if Tiller were murdered.
Further, as reported in the book "In the Wake of Violence: Image & Social Reform" Cheryl R. Jorgensen-Earp, Newman seemed to justify James Kopp's murder of abortion doctor Barnett Slepian: "Kopp picked up a gun because he was discouraged at the lack of progress in the pro-life movement just as disappointment with their situations causes many poeple to seek abortions. The end result is frustration, temporarily solved by a bloodletting." Jorgensen-Earp notes that Newman's argument was effectively absolving Kopp of blame for killing Slepian, invoking an argument that makes a violent actor "twice removed from responsibility for his or her act, a victim of both uncontrollable emotion and the immoral force that generated that emotion."
The cease-and-desist letter Operation Rescue sent to Planned Parenthood -- it has also sent similar letters to ABC News and the Crooks and Liars blog for reporting Richards' comments -- is a masterpiece of lawyerly writing, carefully making sure not to address the specific allegations made about Newman and his Operation Rescue lieutenant, Cheryl Sullenger, regarding their history of anti-abortion extremism. It asserts that Newman "has never participated in, planned, assisted, caused, aided or abetted" in the deaths of Slepian or Tiller. However, the fact that the Operation Rescue phone number for Sullenger was on a note in Roeder's car following his arrest suggests some level of aiding and abetting in Tiller's murder, even if it was, as Newman and Sullenger have claimed, basic information provided to Roeder when he called them.
And given that Newman moved Operation Rescue to Wichita for the specific purpose of targeting Tiller, it can be argued that Newman aided and abetted Tiller's murder by creating an atmosphere that was increasingly hostile to the doctor -- not to mention inflammatory rhetoric including hosting a picture of Tiller on its website surrounded by flames with the words “America's Doctor of Death” -- thereby opening an opportunity for a violent act to take place.
The letter also claimed that Newman never planned, assisted, etc., in "the bombing of any clinic, whether an abortion facility or other." Again, he certainly seems to be condoning such violence with the presence in his organization of Sullenger, who was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.
Yet the letter asserts, "Those are the true facts." Actually, it's Newman, Sullenger and Operation Rescue who are avoiding the "true facts" by refusing to discuss and admit acts and comments that have long been attributed to them publicly. What they're actually trying to do is suppress discussion of their behavior, not seeking to respond to alleged defamation.