Updated: Catholic Bishops Embrace Anti-Abortion Terrorizers Missy Smith and Randall Terry
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Editor's Note: Scroll down to hear the audio recording of Missy Smith's remarks about Dr. George Tiller and Dr LeRoy Carhart.
UPDATE: Since our initial report on the John Paul II Cultural Center's upcoming March for Life activities, Randall Terry has been barred from participating in the program that will be presented by his associate, Missy Smith, at the John Paul II Cultural Center on January 23, according to Deputy Director Hugh Dempsey, Ph.D. However, Missy Smith will still be making a presentation on behalf of her group, W.A.K.E. U.P. (Women Against the Killing and Exploitation of Unprotected Persons) and its affiliate, Chastity Programs International, but her program will not address anti-choice activism, focusing instead on chastity, Dempsey told AlterNet.
On the W.A.K.E. U.P. Web site, Smith announced that her Chastity Programs International has "formed a partnership with the well known Pope John Paul II Cultural Center (JPIICC)...to bring nationally known chastity speakers to JPIICC. This institution was in the news this April because of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit during his visit to America." The W.A.K.E. U.P. site also features prominently displayed links on its home page to pages detailing Smith's work with Randall Terry, as well as OverturnRoe.com (which has a home-page button labeled "Sign up for Randall Terry's email list"). One video of Smith featured on her Web site describes her as a "team leader" for Terry's group, Insurrecta Nex. Another link brings the viewer to a page that details Smith's participation in Terry's protests of President Obama's speech at Notre Dame University.
While leaders of the John Paul II Cultural Center -- run by four Catholic bishops -- may have banned Randall Terry from participating in their March for Life events, but they appear to have entered into a partnership with one of his most zealous lieutenants.
As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops renews its offensive on the anti-abortion language in the heath-care legislation soon to be finalized by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, four of those bishops appear to have given their seal of approval to a group whose leader gloated over the killing of Dr. George Tiller, a gynecologist who performed late-term abortions in Kansas, and called on anti-abortion activists to next "get" Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who performs similar services at his Nebraska clinic.
Missy Smith, a stalwart member of Insurrecta Nex -- Randall Terry's merry band of anti-choice hecklers and street clowns -- announced plans yesterday to conduct a training session for her own organization, W.A.K.E. U.P., at Washington, D.C.'s John Paul II Cultural Center, an institution presided over by four bishops, including Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington. (The other members include John Myers, archbishop of Newark, N.J.; Bernard Harrington, bishop of Winona, Minn.; and Cardinal Adam Maida, the retired archbishop of Detroit.) Among the speakers on Smith's program is Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, who famously called Tiller "a mass murderer," adding that Tiller, who was killed in cold blood, had "reaped what he sowed." Susan Gibb, communications director for the archdiocese of Washington, refused comment on whether Archbishop Wuerl approved of the use of the Cultural Center by Smith and Terry, though she made the point that it was Smith, not Terry, who booked the facility.
George Tiller's patients often traveled long distances to avail themselves of his services, since he was one of a handful of doctors willing to perform late-term abortions, usually to women who learned late in their pregnancies that the fetuses they were carrying were severely deformed and would not survive very long, if at all, outside the womb. For prospective parents left to make excruciating choices, Tiller provided services believed to promote healing, such as funerary services for the fetus, as well as allowing the parents to be photographed with the fetus. Anti-choice extremists often point to these acts of mercy as evidence of Tiller's "evil"; he is misrepresented as a bloodthirsty criminal who took joy in committing macabre acts with "dead babies."