|Born||Randall Almira Terry
1959 (age 54–55)
New York City
|Known for||Founding Operation Rescue|
|Republican (?–2011), Democrat (2011–12), Independent (2012–present)|
|Religion||Roman Catholic (since 2005)|
|Spouse(s)||Cindy Dean (div. 2001)
Andrea Sue Kollmorgen
|Children||Ebony Whetstone (fostered)
Jamiel Terry (adopted)
Tila Terry (adopted)
Faith Terry (first marriage)
and three or more children (second marriage)
Randall Almira Terry (born 1959) is an American pro-life activist. Terry founded the pro-life organization Operation Rescue. The group became particularly prominent beginning in 1987 for blockading the entrances to abortion clinics; Terry led the group until 1991. He has been arrested more than 40 times, most recently for violating a no-trespass order from the University of Notre Dame in order to protest a visit by President Barack Obama. Terry has long been known for provocative and controversial statements, including that abortion is murder and should be made a capital crime.
In 2003, Randall Terry founded the Society for Truth and Justice and conducted a program called Operation Witness. In 1998, he ran for Congress in upstate New York, and in 2006 for a seat in the Florida State Senate, both times losing in the Republican primary.
Career as activist
In 1986, Randall Terry was arrested for the first time for chaining himself to a sink at an abortion clinic. Terry was often in the news because of his activities as the leader of Operation Rescue.
Randall Terry was named as a co-defendant in the 1994 Supreme Court case, NOW v. Scheidler, a class-action suit to compel pro-life leaders to compensate clinics for loss of business. Terry settled out of court with the National Organization for Women. Rather than pay the settlement, Terry promptly filed bankruptcy, prompting Senator Charles Schumer to propose an amendment to a bankruptcy bill in Congress which would "specifically ... prevent abortion opponents from using the bankruptcy code to escape paying court fines." The amendment was not included in the final bill. In 1998, NOW obtained more than 25,000 "frequent flyer miles" held by Terry in order to help satisfy a legal judgment. The long-running case was resolved on February 28, 2006, the Supreme Court voted 8–0 for Scheidler, against NOW.
In 1990, Terry helped to organize protests outside the hospital where Nancy Cruzan was a patient, around the time that her feeding tube was removed. The group Missouri Citizens for Life also was involved in the protests, along with the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a former Operation Rescue staffer. He was also involved in protests related to the Terri Schiavo case. In 1998, Randall Terry ran for the United States House of Representatives in Upstate New York. Terry competed with radio station owner William "Bud" Walker for the Republican nomination to face Democratic incumbent Maurice Hinchey. Terry received the endorsement of Focus on the Family head James Dobson; however, national and state Republicans were not supportive of Terry's candidacy. Terry was defeated by Walker 53% to 35%, but was the Right to Life Party nominee in the general election. Terry came in third place, winning 7% of the vote, with Hinchey and Walker winning 62% and 31% respectively. In 2000, Terry and his son Jamiel promoted the candidacy of Steven Forbes in the Republican presidential primary. In June 2005, Terry announced plans to run in the primary against Florida Republican state senator James E. King, citing King's work in attempting to block legislation which would have kept Terri Schiavo alive. In August 2006, in an attempt to undermine King's support in a Republican primary the next month, Terry publicized an endorsement of King by "Bill Clinton" — actually, robo-calls by a professional impersonator of former president Bill Clinton. The two "Clinton" scripts each contained a disclaimer. One was, "Hello friend, Bill Clinton here – not really!" The other was "This is a celebrity impersonation." Terry used the scripts and the impersonator in 43,000 calls. The "no amnesty" line was a reference to immigration reform proposals which were an issue in many campaigns during 2006. On September 5, 2006, Terry was defeated in the primary, with King receiving over two-thirds of the votes cast.
On March 20, 2009, the White House announced that President Barack Obama was to speak at the May 17 Commencement of the University of Notre Dame. Terry declared that Notre Dame, being one of the foremost Catholic universities in the nation, should not have allowed Obama to speak. Terry's main objection was that Obama supports abortion. He was quoted in an article to the University's newspaper, The Observer, stating that he planned to make the commencement "a circus." Terry was arrested May 1, 2009, on the Notre Dame campus for violating a no-trespass order. He posted a bond of $250 at the St. Joseph County Jail and was released the same day, and assigned a court date later that month. In a statement given to a Christian news service, Terry claimed Notre Dame's invitation of Obama was a betrayal of Catholic teaching, comparing it to Judas' betrayal of Jesus Christ.
When Kansas obstetrician George Tiller was murdered while serving as an usher in his Wichita church on the morning of May 31, 2009, Terry immediately issued a statement critical of Tiller. On the same day, June 1, Terry released a video in which he called president Barack Obama and pro-choice politicians "child killers", and described Tiller as a "mass murderer" who "reaped what he sowed." He voiced regret that Tiller wasn't able to "get things right with his maker" and that it was unfortunate that he didn't get a "trial of a jury of his peers and to have a proper execution." Terry's comments provoked a backlash. The Albany Times-Union, in an editorial, accused Terry of undermining the credibility of the "generally peaceful" pro-life movement.
In 2013, Terry appeared on an episode of MTV's True Life advocating the criminalization of all forms of birth control. During the course of the episode he stated, "Do we want to make the pill illegal? Yes. Do we want to make the IUD illegal? Yes. The morning after pill? Yes. The patch? Yes. Anything that’s a human pesticide, they all have to be made illegal. A woman has to go to jail if she kills her baby."
2012 presidential candidacy
In January 2011, Terry announced his intention to challenge President Barack Obama in the Democratic Party primaries for the presidential election of 2012. His campaign strategy was based upon a commercial during Super Bowl XLVI featuring graphic photographs of aborted fetuses; historically, the networks have refused all political and issue-related advertising during the Super Bowl, citing equal-time rules and the advertisement did not air.
The attempt to air the ads led to legal action and a statement by the Democratic National Committee that Terry was not a legitimate candidate, and thus should be forbidden privileges given others running.
According to unofficial results, Terry received 18% of the vote in the 2012 Democratic Oklahoma Presidential Primary. He also won 11 counties in the state, including the entire panhandle, and was awarded two delegates in the Democratic Primary. It was the only primary in which Terry won any counties or delegates; he had also appeared on the ballots in Alaska, Missouri, and New Hampshire.
2012 Congressional candidacy
Although he lives in West Virginia, Terry paid his filing fee and ran as an independent candidate for Congress in Florida's 20th District. Incumbent Democrat Alcee Hastings won that election with 88% of the vote on November 6, 2012.
Terry's personal life has frequently come under public scrutiny, some of which he has welcomed, going so far as to put his foster children on his curriculum vitae as part of his pro-life "bona fides." Terry has been married twice, having numerous children. With his first wife Cindy, he had a daughter before fostering two additional daughters and a son. He formally adopted the two youngest foster children. He has four sons with his second wife, Andrea.
The son of public school teachers, Terry was raised in Rochester, New York. After dropping out of high school, hitch-hiking around the United States, and returning home to work various jobs, he attended Elim Bible Institute, graduating in 1981. In the early 1980s, Terry married Cindy Dean, a woman he had met in Bible school. In 1985, he met a woman who had borne her second child in prison and was planning an abortion rather than having a third. Terry persuaded her to continue the pregnancy and a daughter named Tila was born later that year. In 1987, Cindy and Randall Terry had a daughter together whom they named Faith. In March 1988, they took in Tila, then aged three, and her siblings Jamiel, 8, and Ebony, 12, as foster children. All three are biracial; their mother was white. Terry formally adopted the two younger children in 1994 and began describing his family on his résumé as: "Children: One by birth and three black foster children," although Ebony had left home at the age of 16 in 1991. Ebony, who was not adopted by Terry, uses the surname Whetstone, but both Jamiel and Tila took and retained the surname Terry. She converted to Islam, a religion Terry has preached is composed of "murderers" and "terrorists." In 2004, Terry described his relationship with Ebony as "good." However, Terry banned Tila from his home after she became pregnant outside of marriage twice by age 18; her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. In 1998, when Terry was accused of racism while running for Congress, his son Jamiel stepped forward to defend him. In 2000, Jamiel worked with his father on Steven Forbes' campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. president, and campaigned with his father against gay marriage in Vermont. In 2004, Jamiel publicly announced that he was gay and wrote an article for Out Magazine for which he was paid US$2,500. When he learned that the Out article was to be published, Terry pre-empted Jamiel by writing an essay, My Prodigal Son, the Homosexual, in which he writes of pain and disappointment, blames Jamiel's homosexuality and other troubles on his childhood experiences, and contends that much of the Out Magazine article is false and was written by other people. Jamiel's response was, "My father's first and foremost aim is to protect himself. He talks about how I prostitute the family's name, but he's used the fact that he saved my sister from abortion and rescued me from hardship in his speeches and interviews. What's the difference?"
In 2000, Terry divorced his wife of 19 years, Cindy, and married his former church assistant, Andrea Sue Kollmorgen. Kollmorgen, born c. 1976, was approximately 25 at the time of their nuptials; As a consequence of the divorce, the home on 119 acres (0.48 km2) where he had lived with Cindy and their four children was to be sold. His decision to divorce in 2000 to marry Kollmorgen was unfavorably contrasted by some in the press to his own judgment expressed in his 1995 book, The Judgment of God: "Families are destroyed as a father vents his mid-life crisis by abandoning his wife for a 'younger, prettier model.' " His sentiments against divorce had been so strong that when his own parents divorced, "Randall refused to let his children speak with their grandfather for three years," according to interviews with the family done by the Washington Post. As a result of Terry's divorce from Cindy Dean, the pastor of the Landmark Church of Binghamton, New York, "unceremoniously tossed him out" although Terry had been a member there for 15 years. That church had previously censured him for abandoning his wife and the two children still at home in preparation for divorce, and for a "pattern of repeated and sinful relationships and conversations with both single and married women." After the censure and expulsion, Terry joined the Charismatic Episcopal Church, a denomination established in 1992. After a period of study commencing in 2005, Terry formally converted to Roman Catholicism in 2006, taking the confirmation name "David Mark." After his conversion, he disavowed the first marriage and divorce, saying, "There were tragic problems that were inherent to the marriage. According to Catholic doctrine as it has been taught to me, those problems made it an invalid sacrament."
In the 2004 essay about Jamiel, three years after divorcing Cindy Dean, Terry described his family as "a great wife, a teenage daughter and two small boys." The teen daughter was Faith Terry, his child by his original wife, born in 1987. In 2004, the Washington Post reported that Terry and Cindy's daughter was in college. Five years into his second marriage, a 2006 article in the National Catholic Register described his current family as "his three, soon to be four, rambunctious young boys." Terry's second wife, Andrea, is also a pro-life activist and was arrested in 2008 for trespass while leafleting a Roman Catholic cathedral parking lot with campaign flyers for a fictitious candidate promoting slavery for African-Americans. Randall Terry stated, "The piece was intended to be incendiary and basically a satire," a protest against vehicles in the church parking lot which, he said, carried bumper stickers supporting pro-choice political candidates, particularly Rudy Giuliani.
- Accessory To Murder: The Enemies, Allies, And Accomplices To The Death of Our Culture (1990) ISBN 0-943497-78-7
- Why Does A Nice Guy Like Me... Keep Getting Thrown In Jail?: How theological escapism and cultural retreatism in the Church have led to America's demise. (1993) ISBN 1-56384-052-9
- The Sword: The Blessing Of Righteous Government And The Overthrow Of Tyrants (1995) ISBN 1-887690-00-X
- A Humble Plea: To Bishops, Clergy, Laymen: Ending the Abortion Holocaust (2008) http://ahumbleplea.com
- I Believe in You
- Dark Sunglasses Day
- Statement Regarding Suspect in Tiller Killing. June 1, 2009, Operation Rescue.
- "Randall Terry, Operation Rescue founder, moving to St. Augustine?" December 5, 2002. St.Augustine Record
- Sly, Randy. Randall Terry Arrested at Notre Dame. May 1, 2009, Catholic Online (news).
- "NOW LDEF Gets Randall Terry's Frequent Flier miles". Publiceye.org. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
- "Scheidler et al. v. National Organization for Women, Inc., et al.". Supreme Court of the United States. February 28, 2006. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
- Corn, David. Riding with an Abortion Foe Who Once Targeted Tiller. June 2, 2009. CQ Politics.
- Randall Terry Defeated – Cost $100 per Vote. September 17, 1998 at PublicEye.Org.
- New York House Races (1998). September 15, 1998, National Journal.
- Powell, Michael. Family Values: Randall Terry Fights Gay Unions. His Son No Longer Will.. April 22, 2004. Washington Post, p. C-1.
- Terry gets 'Clinton' to endorse opponent: Florida state Senate candidate has fun in battle for GOP District 8 nomination, August 12, 2006. World Net Daily (news).
- Randall Terry Bonds Out of Jail, 2009. Available only via paid archive at South Bend Tribune of Indiana. Excerpt available here  accessed May 29, 2009.
- Arrested at Notre Dame; Statement by Randall A. Terry. May 5, 2009. Christian Newswire story in Catholic Online (news).
- "Dr. Tiller's Death: Randall Terry Releases Video for Pro-life Leaders Concerning Dr. Tiller's Killing", Christian Newswire, May 31, 2009, Retrieved June 8, 2009
- Barnes, Robert. Abortion Provider Shot Dead In Church, June 1, 2009. Washington Post.
- Randall Terry Video Statement on Tiller Murder, June 1, 2009. Crooks and Liars. Accessed June 4, 2009.
- "Murder, in the name of life", Albany Times Union, June 4, 2009
- Marty, Robin. "They Are Coming for Your Birth Control: ‘Do We Want to Make the Pill Illegal? Yes!’". Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- theWALKtv Programs
- Voice of Resistance
- Dwyer, Devin (January 18, 2011) "Activist Vows Graphic Anti-Abortion Ads During Super Bowl", ABC News. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
- Boyle, Matthew (January 18, 2011) "Pro-life activist to primary Obama so he can air graphic pro-life ads during Super Bowl", The Daily Caller. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "Pro-Life Activist Randall Terry Looks to Defeat Barack Obama in 2012 Dem Primaries". Sunshine State News. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
- Teinowitz, Ira. Fox Won't Sell Super Bowl Ads to Candidates. TV Week. January 24, 2008.
- Dinan, Stephen (March 7, 2012). "Obama renomination won’t be unanimous". The Washington Times. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
- "Election results". Huffington Post.
- Labash, Michael. Randall Shoots an Ad, October 22, 2012. "The Weekly Standard.
- Randall Terry, National Names Database. Accessed May 29, 2009.
- Hinojosa, Maria. Live From... with Miles O'Brien, April 15, 2004. CNN transcript.
- Terry, Randall. My Prodigal Son, the Homosexual. April 9, 2004. World Net Daily.
- Barry, Dan. Icon for abortion protesters is looking for a second act. July 20, 2001. New York Times.
- Sly, Randy. Pro-Life Workers Arrested at St. Petersburg, FL Cathedral, January 26, 2008. Catholic Online (news).
- Terry, Randall. The Judgment of God. (1995). ISBN unavailable.
- Religious Right Leader Randall Terry Censured, April 2004. Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
- Drake, Tim. Pro-life activist Randall Terry converts to Catholicism, still slaying dragons. May 17, 2006. National Catholic Register.
- Gay Son of Antichoice Activist Dead in Car Crash
- Liz Kendall and Katie Hodges. "Randall Terry: Shifting Parties for a Purpose". Saint Michael's College Media and American Politics class. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Randall Terry.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Randall Terry|
- Voice of Resistance
- Official website[dead link]
- Presidential campaign website
- Radio show
- Randall Terry at the Internet Movie Database