The Company They Keep: Republican House Leader Meets with Radical Anti-Choice Terrorist

Jodi Jacobson

John Boehner has a sit-down with Randall Terry.  'Nuff said?

In the midst of a national crisis of epic proportions, in the face of deepening unemployment, international instabiilty, climate change and profound and lasting shifts in the United States economy, John Boehner, speaker-designate of the House of Representatives, is preparing to govern.


By meeting with domestic terrorist Randall Terry, original founder of Operation Rescue, and the man who after the murder of Dr. George Tiller in the vestibule of his church referred to Dr. Tiller as a “mass murderer” and said that, “horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.” How is that for signaling support for the murder of physicians?

Writing at, Alex Pareen describes Terry thus:

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Randall Terry is a psychopath, an antiabortion zealot who endorses domestic terror and compares coldblooded murderers to heroic abolitionists. He’s also a ridiculous character whose true calling is self-promotion, by any means necessary.

He long ago [became a] desperate self-parody. He renounced his gay son, left his wife for a campaign volunteer, and sought a reality television show. If it weren’t for YouTube, no one would’ve even noticed his inflammatory statements about the murder of Dr. George Tiller. In short, Randall Terry’s not only an extremist nutcase, he’s also old news.

But now that the Republicans are back, this faded celebrity is mounting a comeback. Terry’s most recent e-mail blast featured a photo of the radical Catholic cleric sitting down with incoming Speaker John Boehner himself. “With Boehner’s chief of staff, after the election,” the caption read. (Terry also presented the incoming speaker with a fetus doll resting on some sort of “decree.”)

Apparently, said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, “In the Boehner-led House, having a miles-long rap sheet calling for violence against abortion providers and their patients gets you an invitation to meet with the incoming speaker’s staff.”

“The Randall Terry meeting signifies that, when it comes to listening to the most extreme elements of the anti-choice movement,” Keenan continued, “Boehner is all ears.”

“Maybe you’re thinking,” writes Keenan in the Huffington Post, “Wait a minute, didn’t Boehner campaign on jobs and the economy? Isn’t calling for attacks on choice inconsistent with the ‘limited government’ he talks about?”

But when it comes to choice, she writes:

Boehner’s rhetoric about limited government rings hollow. Less than 48 hours after polls closed, Boehner did exactly what we expected him to do: make attacking a woman’s right to choose a cornerstone (or pillar, rather) of his agenda. He even told the National Right to Life Committee that, when women have the right to choose, “freedom is diminished.” A recent front-page story in The New York Times spells out how imposing additional restrictions on a woman’s right to choose and ending insurance coverage of abortion is a central part of his push to repeal the health-reform law.

A recent front-page story in The New York Times spells out how imposing additional restrictions on a woman’s right to choose and ending insurance coverage of abortion is a central part of his push to repeal the health-reform law. Let’s face it, writes Keenan.

Creating jobs, especially in the short term, will be hard. Boehner won’t have much to show his base, unless he takes aim at a woman’s right to choose. Contrary to his statements about ‘limited government’, Boehner has never missed an opportunity to open the door to more political interference in our personal, private decisions. He even has accepted the endorsement of the Republican National Coalition for Life, which requires all endorsed candidates to “indicate they are faithfully pro-life, and do not justify abortion for innocent babies who are conceived through rape or incest.”

According to NARAL, Boehner has voted anti-choice 142 times out of 142 opportunities he has had to cast a vote on women’s rights and health. Boehner even voted eight times against clinic protection for women and their doctors.

The Terry episode, notes NARAL, comes on the heels of the National Right to Life Committee’s demand for notorious anti-choice extremist Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) to be given control over the Energy and Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee.  And last week, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) promised to undermine reproductive-health programs if his colleagues select him to lead the powerful Appropriations Committee.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has created an online resource outlining the expected anti-choice attacks in the New Congress.

The only freedoms the new Congress will be eager to protect will be those of corporations and self-interested power brokers with money to throw around, like the Koch brothers.  The rest of us are just collateral damage.


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