Crusading Against The Pro-Choice Movement As founder of the controversial Operation Rescue group, RANDALL TERRY doesn't care that most people reject his blockades of abortion clinics and other confrontational tactics. He insists that the country is dying from moral pollution and will be saved only by his measures.
Q. This summer Operation Rescue caused an uproar in Wichita, Kans., by blocking the entrances to local abortion clinics. What did you gain from those six weeks of confrontation?
A. More than 40 children were rescued from death. If that were the end of the story, that would be enough. But we also rekindled some fresh fervor in the whole pro-life movement. And we put child killing back on the front page where it belongs.
Q. But you also got a public reprimand from George Bush for breaking the law. After that, you sought to meet with him, but to no avail. Why do you suppose he won't meet with you?
A. The President did a great disservice to the pro-life movement by his remarks. He has been inconsistent. He encourages or applauds the civil disobedience of Kurdish rebels or Russian citizens or students in Tiananmen Square. But he tells us to sit down and be quiet. I don't think he's getting the straight dope from his staff. I don't think George Bush knows that our people have had their limbs broken, women have been sexually molested by prison guards, Mace has been used on nonviolent demonstrators.
Q. According to a poll in the Wichita Eagle, your tactics in that city -- screaming at women who approached the clinics, chaining yourselves to clinic doors, costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars for extra police -- turned off a large majority of people. Does that matter to you?
A. Absolutely not. Look at the arrests in the civil rights movement. The majority of Americans were against the tactics of the civil rights workers, the lunch-counter sit-ins, etc. And yet those street-level protests produced political change. Frankly, the fact that 20% of the people polled liked our tactics was a shock to us.
Q. The civil rights movement sought to expand and guarantee the rights of blacks. Aren't you seeking to do the opposite in the case of women, preventing them from exercising a right that the law currently recognizes?
A. A white supremacist would have argued that he had the right to serve whom he wanted at his lunch counter and that these black protesters were prohibiting him from operating his legitimate business. Whenever you are seeking to expand the rights of one group of people, inevitably you're going to have another group crying that their rights are being infringed upon. The problem in the child-killing debate is that the children have no voice. When the abortion industry succeeded in legalizing child killing, there was no group of babies who stepped forward and said, "Wait, we have a right to be alive." It was left to those of us who were already born.
Q. Are there no exceptions to your opposition to abortion? What about rape and incest?
A. Incest and rape are both hideous crimes, and we can never make light of the trauma that a woman has undergone when she has been violated in this way. However, an abortion will not undo rape or incest. And furthermore it is unjust to kill an innocent child for the crime of its father.