Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) announced Wednesday an anti-choice coalition led by extremists in the movement to help demonstrate his opposition to abortion rights.
Speaking at an anti-choice rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Cruz officially announced the formation of his coalition, “Pro-Lifers for Cruz.” The group already has 17,334 members, according to a press release from the campaign, and will be led by Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBTQ organization Family Research Council.
“I am encouraged by the incredible passion and support seen in these pro-life leaders who have coalesced behind our shared cause,” Cruz said in a statement.
“The right to life is a pillar of our country and a God-given right that we must fight to protect. I am encouraged by the large number of people who have already signed up to take on this fight with me and look forward to what this coalition will be able to achieve under the incredible leadership of the Pro-Lifers for Cruz Coalition.”
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The coalition’s ten co-chairs include a number of noted anti-choice activists, which Cruz referred to as a “true inspiration,” including Troy Newman, head of the radical anti-choice group Operation Rescue.
In 2002, Newman’s Operation Rescue moved to Wichita, Kansas, to continue a decades-long campaign to intimidate Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider in that state. Anti-choice radical Scott Roeder, two years before he murdered Tiller, posted on Operation Rescue’s website in 2007 that the abortion provider “needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgment upon our nation.”
Newman sits on the board of the discredited anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress, the leaders of which were recently indicted on charges related to their surreptitiously recorded videos of Planned Parenthood.
The biography of Newman provided by the Cruz campaign notes his involvement in the anti-choice movement for “over 20 years,” as well as his book Their Blood Cries Out, which according to Right Wing Watch, argues women who have abortions should be treated like murderers.
Cruz welcomed Newman’s formal endorsement in November despite the anti-choice activist’s history of extremism. “We need leaders like Troy Newman in this country who will stand up for those who do not have a voice,” he said.