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National Briefing / Kansas

Operation Rescue says it could shut down

September 16, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Operation Rescue, one of the nation's highest-profile groups in the antiabortion movement, has told its supporters it is facing a "major financial crisis" and is close to shutting down unless emergency help arrives soon.

The group's president, Troy Newman, blamed the economic downturn for its woes in an e-mail to donors Monday night. But the Wichita-based organization also has been under attack from both abortion rights supporters and opponents since the May 31 shooting death of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in Wichita.

"We're now so broke (as the saying goes), we can't even pay attention," Newman wrote.

Newman told the Associated Press in an interview that the group had only four paid employees, compared with nine a year ago. The group typically has an annual budget of $600,000, but donations have been down 30% to 40% this year. Newman, who earns $60,000 annually, said he hadn't been paid in two months.

Scott Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., faces charges of murder and aggravated assault in Tiller's slaying. Operation Rescue condemned the slaying, but the name and phone number of the group's senior policy advisor was found in Roeder's car.

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