Thursday, September 17, 2009

Anti-abortion group in Wichita says it’s out of money

Gotta say this doesn't break my heart. It is not the economy stupid. Its the hate and the murder.

TOPEKA The anti-abortion group Operation Rescue may need a little rescuing itself.

The Wichita-based organization, which dogged abortion provider George Tiller for years before his murder last spring, is “completely out of money,” according to a letter President Troy Newman sent to potential donors this week.

Newman blames the recession, which he said has supporters keeping a tight grip on their checkbooks. Giving is down 40 percent compared with previous years, he said.

“We ate right through our savings and we laid several people off and cut back on a lot of projects,” Newman said. “We’re one month away from closing our doors.”

The group lost its main opponent when Tiller was gunned down in Wichita on May 31. The group had focused its anti-abortion campaigns on Tiller for years, even relocating from California to Wichita in 2002 because it was home to Tiller’s late-term abortion clinic.

Newman vowed to continue Operation Rescue’s work, even on a downsized scale. He said Tiller’s death has nothing to do with his group’s current struggles.

But Nebraska abortion provider LeRoy Carhart said Operation Rescue may be crying wolf. The group has accused Carhart of breaking the law by performing illegal abortions, and members of Operation Rescue recently demonstrated outside his Bellevue, Neb., clinic.

Carhart, who worked with Tiller for years, said he may have become Operation Rescue’s new fund-raising ploy.

“Every time he runs low he says they’re going broke,” Carhart said. “Troy Newman is looking for money and the only way he can make money is by finding somebody to go after.”
Carhart is in talks to open a new abortion clinic in Wichita. He’s not sure whether he would perform late-term abortions or not.

The state’s other leading anti-abortion group, Kansans For Life, hasn’t seen a noticeable decrease in fundraising, according to director Mary Kay Culp.

On the other side of the debate, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri saw donations slip in the first half of the year, according to President and CEO Peter Brownlie.

Brownlie said the recession has hurt many organizations that depend on donations. But he said Operation Rescue may also be struggling to find a focus after Tiller’s death.

Police arrested and charged Scott Roeder, a Kansas City man, with Tiller’s death. Roeder, a staunch opponent of abortion, has pleaded not guilty. His trial is set to begin next week.

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