What was Operation Rescue?

     The year was 1986.  It was the historic year when Randall Terry founded Operation Rescue National, now Operation Save America.  It’s slogan?  “If you believe abortion is murder, act like it’s murder.”  Operation Rescue became known for its peaceful sit-in demonstrations to block the doors of abortion clinics, and as the movement grew, so did the opposition.  Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights demonstrations years earlier, Christians gathered from across the nation to join in protesting the killing of innocent human beings.

     In 1988, Operation Rescue made national news in Atlanta, Georgia, as “…television viewers watched pro-life rescuers being kicked, punched, hit and dragged to arrest for protesting abortion at the city’s major abortion clinics…” [1]  Over 1200 Operation Rescue members and supporters were arrested in July and August of that year.  At this time, several groups styled after Operation Rescue were started around the country, one of which was called Operation Rescue West, the “West” because it was based in California.  The founder of this group was a man named Jeff White.

     By 1991, Randall Terry had stepped down as director of Operation Rescue National.  Keith Tucci, who took his place, led the “Summer of Mercy” in Wichita, Kansas, where thousands of locals and clergy became involved with peaceful clinic blockades and sit-in protests.  The Summer of Mercy lasted six weeks, with over 2600 arrests made by the Wichita Police Department, and concluding with a rally filling a 30,000 seat stadium.

     Late in 1993, Keith Tucci stepped down and Rev. Flip Benham became the third director of Operation Rescue National.  Before long, Rev. Benham began to use the name Operation Rescue/Operation Save America.

     In 1999, Operation Rescue West, one of the independent groups styled after Operation Rescue, changed leaders from its original founder Jeff White, to Troy Newman.  Newman then moved the organization from California to Kansas, dropped the word “West”, and named it Operation Rescue, after he discovered that Operation Rescue had not copyrighted their name.  At first, this created some tension between Rev. Flip Benham and Troy Newman, but eventually Benham officially changed Operation Rescue’s name to Operation Save America, and the former Operation Rescue West kept the name of Operation Rescue.

     Operation Save America’s ministry had continued through the years under the leadership of Flip Benham, until in July of 2014, he gave the role of leadership to Rev. Rusty Thomas, who is the current director of OSA.

For the latest news on Operation Rescue National/Operation Save America, visit OperationSaveAmerica.org