Operation Rescue Goes Dumpster Diving

Anti-abortion group goes after Texas clinics


As if the anti-abortion fervor isn’t rampant enough in Texas this session, leave it to a pro-life Christian group from Kansas to stir the pot even more.

Operation Rescue revealed the results of a three-month investigation into Texas abortion clinics this morning, conveniently at the same time the House was to gavel in and have their pre-abortion sonogram bill debate. Troy Newman, president of the organization, told a small crowd that his “investigators”—who were actually private citizens that volunteer with pro-life organizations—found abuses and violations of “epidemic proportions” in 15 randomly selected abortion clinics. These “investigators,” who apparently went dumpster diving, supposedly found “bloody residue of aborted children,” “dirty, filthy instruments” and improperly disposed of medications outside the clinics.

“This is very dangerous and evidence of a breakdown of regulatory control,” he said. Newman also said his volunteers found evidence that abortion providers were violating informed consent laws. As he spoke, organization members—who wore full-length, long-sleeve dresses and their hair in buns, and looked like they just walked off a polygamist ranch in Utah—passed out packets that detailed the findings. They planned to distribute the packets to every House member and even Attorney General Greg Abbott. Newman said Abbott’s office indicated they were interested in the report.

Operation Rescue volunteers went to clinics and made calls as undercover patients seeking an abortion, but obviously didn’t go so far as to have the procedure. They also allege confidential patient information was haphazardly tossed into trashcans and available for anyone to find. A member of Operation Rescue said that a woman from Texas called the group after having an abortion and her experience spurred their interest, but she wouldn’t elaborate.

“From what we found, women are subjected to a variety of abortion abuses as a matter of routine,” he said in the press release that accompanied the information. “Violating the law is standard operating procedure for abortion clinics in Texas.”

Now that sounds like a bold statement. Newman acknowledged that he’s been sued before and he’s ready for more litigation. He and the lawyer that accompanied him this morning said Operation Rescue would welcome a lawsuit from any clinic or organization that questions the information.

“We have enough evidence to shut these clinics down,” he said. “To those groups that suggest the report is contrived, let’s let a judge and jury decide that this report is what it purports to be.”

Apparently YouTube doesn’t think much of it. The online video site removed Operation Rescue’s video posted yesterday that accompanied its findings, saying the video violated “spam, scams and commercially deceptive information” policies.

Meanwhile, a few abortion providers have questioned the materials, including Whole Women’s Health, which was cited in the report. In a press release, Whole Women’s Health acknowledged that allegations about one of its sites were already addressed by the state. The statement read, “[T]he simple truth is that these people are determined to take away a woman’s right to choose abortion—by any means necessary.”