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The Nation

Right to Life kicks out affiliate over criticism

June 14, 2007|From the Associated Press

DENVER — Colorado Right to Life was kicked out of the National Right to Life coalition on Wednesday, in part for publicly criticizing Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

The Colorado group and three others accused Dobson of misrepresenting the U.S. Supreme Court's April decision that upheld a ban on dilation-and-extraction procedures, called partial-birth abortion by opponents.

Dobson had praised the ruling as a victory for abortion foes, but the Colorado group believes it will only encourage doctors to find other, "less shocking" methods. It and the other groups, including Operation Rescue/ Operation Save America, ran full-page ads in at least two newspapers criticizing Dobson.

In a written statement, the national coalition said Wednesday that it disagreed with the ad. It said its rules require state affiliates to be in line with the national group's objectives.

Leslie Hanks, vice president of Colorado Right to Life, said the state group had a more "confrontational" approach than National Right to Life. "We're in discussions with another organization we feel better aligns with our perspective, and we intend to carry on," Hanks said.

The ads ran in the Washington Times and in the Gazette of Colorado Springs, the city where Dobson's conservative Christian ministry is based. Focus on the Family has defended Dobson's support for the ruling.

National Right to Life chose Colorado Citizens for Life/ Protecting Life Now as its new state affiliate.

In a written statement, Focus on the Family said it appreciated the national group's action. Carrie Gordon Earll, a spokeswoman for Focus on the Family, called Colorado Right to Life a "rogue and divisive group."

"Rather than use their money and energy to advance pro-life goals, CORTL chose instead to attack its allies in the cause. CORTL gave its parent organization no choice but to name a new state affiliate," she said.

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