Anti-Choicers Protest Anti-Choicers

Amie Newman

Operation Save America is at it again - in Charlotte, NC- protesting women's health centers and - yes - a church which holds anti-choice views. But it's not only Flip Benham and his posse who fight against their own.

Okay, seriously? How extreme is too extreme when it comes to anti-choice beliefs and behavior?

Operation Save America, the bordering-on-dangerous anti-woman, anti-justice, anti-choice organization, is in Charlotte, NC this week protesting outside of a women’s health clinic. But OSA takes their beliefs seriously thank you very much – not like those other silly anti-choice groups which simply impede women’s access to safe, legal medical care by screaming and singing and praying and “sidewalk-counseling” because women won’t do what they want them to with their own bodies and lives! Operation Save America laughs in the face of these puny actions!

OSA is now protesting outside of an anti-choice church! Yes, you read that right. The Central Church of God in Charlotte, NC is in the cross-hairs (once again) of Operation Save America for not being anti-choice enough.

According to, OSA has protested the church twice this week saying, “…the group’s members didn’t think the church was doing enough to fight abortion.”

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Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue) has a long, violent and hateful history of anti-choice actions; and a history of clashes with this specific church in the past. The Central Church of God has tried to reason with Flip Benham, the leader of OSA over his use of horrific, graphic billboard-size placards outside of schools and parks. Eleanor Bader, writing for Rewire about an incident with this same church in the past, notes:

While church personnel are staunchly anti-abortion, they are also vehemently opposed to OSA’s tactics. says that, “…the current pastor of the church, Loran Livingston…doesn’t agree with Operation Save America’s methods of confronting passers-by with graphic pictures of aborted fetuses.”

Benham has been arrested before, in North Carolina, and his group is back. Meanwhile physicians and clinic owners of the North Carolina health centers his group pickets are plagued by fear and anger, no doubt. And the clash between anti-choicers continues. All I can say is, this “holier-than-thou” fight between the fundamentalist extremists who believe abortion must trump all and those who exhibit more holistic and humane religious beliefs when it comes to abortion, is having its day. Is it really a core principal of Catholicism to deny a woman her right-to-life in the name of one’s anti-choice beliefs? In the case of the recently excommunicated nun who allowed a life-saving abortion for a woman at the hospital at which the nun was an administrator, this extremist anti-choice stance didn’t even seem rooted in religion (or reality for that matter). Health care reform offered an opportunity for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (Catholic men) who didn’t seem to care in the least whether women, men and children had access to health care or not – only that if abortion coverage was allowed to remain as is, no one should benefit from health reform at all- and the tens of thousands of nuns who presumably do not support abortion access but who did believe (and made their opinion clear) that offering health care to millions of pregnant women and children was truly the  “pro-life” option (imagine that!).

On one side we’ve got those who use their fear of and anger about women’s decision-making around abortion as a weapon; they are willing to stop at nothing and will stomp on anyone who gets in their way. On the other, there are those who understand that to hold a personal or religious belief about abortion is a right, a privilege, and not something one uses to scare, hurt or punish a woman or her family. Nor is it a reason to stop a church from preaching, a government from caring for its citizens or a hospital from offering lifesaving, compassionate care. These scenarios continue to play out between those on the “same side” but how long will it last?

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