The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that has been linked in a federal courtroom to a domestic terror attack, now has added pro-life activists to its expanding list of targets, smearing the citizen journalists who are exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby body parts as “extremists.”
In a post on its ominously titled blog “Hatewatch,” SPLC’s Mark Potok complained the group “behind the recent spate of undercover videos accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally selling ‘body parts from aborted fetuses’ is tightly linked to some of the country’s hardest-line anti-abortion extremists.”
Potok attacked the Center for Medical Progress, which produced the videos. But he also targeted Cheryl Sullenger and Troy Newman, leaders of the pro-life activist group Operation Rescue and the authors of “Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community At a Time.”
Potok suggested Newman implicitly supports violence against abortion providers and highlights Sullenger’s conviction in 1988 for providing logistical support in a conspiracy to bomb an abortion clinic.
But Sullenger fired back, arguing the Southern Poverty Law Center was misrepresenting her record and Newman’s record as well as trying to change the subject away from Planned Parenthood’s misconduct.
“The information provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center is a gross distortion of our backgrounds. Troy has always rejected violence against abortion clinics and providers. As for my criminal conviction, it was a mistake I freely admit. I have worked very hard since then employing peaceful means within the law to expose abortion abuses and bring those responsible for them to justice,” she told WND.
Wow -- this may be the first time WND has reported that Sullenger tried to blow up an abortion clinic, and almost definitely the first time since WND published an anti-abortion activism book by Newman and Sullenger nearly a year ago.
But note that WND euphemictically called Sullenger's role in the bombing attempt nothing but "logistical support." In fact, according to the SPLC article she and WND are ostensibly attacking, "The indictment said that Sullenger provided gunpowder and other material for the bomb and gave a wig to the man who actually planted it."
Providing the actual explosive material for a terrorist operation seems like a lot more than mere "logistical support."And it seems that if Sullenger were truly remorseful about her actions, she'd be using much stronger language than a "mistake" to apologize for it.
Also notice that WND and Sullenger never say exactly what the SPLC wrote about Newman, which is this:
In 2003, Newman issued a press release attacking “judicial tyranny” in the prosecution of Paul Hill, who murdered an abortion doctor and his bodyguard in Florida, and arguing that Hill, who was executed the same day, should have been able to present a defense of “justifiable defensive action.”
WND and Sullenger fail to explain how that description is a "gross distortion." That's because it isn't -- you can read the press release here and judge for yourself.
Needless to say, WND and Sullenger are also silent about Operation Rescue's own link to a domestic terror attack -- the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller by Scott Roeder, who had contacts with Operation Rescue in the years before the murder and had a note with Sullenger's phone number in his car the day he was arrested.
By contrast, nobody at the SPLC can claim any personal conversations with Floyd Corkins, the shooter at the Family Research Council headquarters who simply found the group listed on an SPLC website.
Sullenger should stop trying to spin and distort the truth and fully own her terrorist past. Likewise, Newman should understand he's on record too many times endorsing anti-abortion violence, implicitly or otherwise, to claim he's some kind of peaceful activist -- after all, he moved Operation Rescue to Wichita, Kansas, for the explicit purpose of targeting Tiller, and it can be argued that the anti-Tiller atmosphere Newman, Sullenger and Operation Rescue helped create since then emboldened Roeder to murder Tiller.
And WND should stop playing press agent and report facts without fear or favor. But we know that will never happen, don't we?