Unethical Tactics Embarrass Pro-Life Movement
First Cookies then This
This is a continuation of a series begun HERE.
As has been noted in this series before, Jim Wright’s shenanigans throughout the 1980s were the target of a great deal of ridicule and they resulted in national embarrassment with the Moral Majority rejecting their Maryland Chapter and tossing them along with Jim Wright out of the organization. You can see see why with these types of campaigns that continued even after the Moral Majority wisely and quickly disassociated themselves from the sleazy tactics of Jim Wright and the Family Protection Lobby.
This article is presented without extensive comment as a further example of the scorched earth type tactics employed by Jim Wright in promoting his agendas. Keep in mind that much of the criticism of these actions came from fellow Pro-Life supporters. The issue wasn’t the Pro-Life position. The issue was the underhanded and unethical tactics employed. 30+ years later Jim Wright hasn’t changed very much. He still skirts the edge of slander and libel in his predictable and apparently compulsive attacks upon others.
Jim Wright Embarrasses the Anti-Abortion Campaign in Maryland
This is the text of the article below in case the image isn’t clear. Bold elements have been highlighted for emphasis. Note the bold sections in particular that reveal the creation of separate entities even then to separate assets and thwart slander and libel lawsuits. Jim Wright has a long track record of intentionally pushing the envelop with what he says about others and he appears to expect that he’ll encounter slander and libel charges. Note as well, as usual, those who actually supported the political position in common with Jim Wright, refused to be associated with him in this issue. The sleazy tactics employed by Jim Wright were rejected even by those with whom he claimed to be allied. This is referenced later too in books dealing with the issues from this time.
Anti-abortion campaign assailed
By Randy Wilson, Staff Writer
A vigorous anti-abortion campaign directed at the General Assembly has begun to backfire with targeted legislators threatening libel suits and their colleagues expressing outrage over the lobbying tactics.
Drawing the fire is the Annapolis-based Family Protection Lobby, which has attacked 5 members of the House of Delegates in brochures described by lawmakers as “terrible,” “atrocious” and “scurrilous.”
“My callers are outraged over the brochure,” said Del. Gerald W. Winegrad, D. Annapolis, in whose district about 3,000 leaflets were distributed last weekend.
The single-page leaflet contains a photograph of Winegrad under the headline: “Abortion – 16,500 babies have died as a result of this man’s vote.”
In the past three years, Winegrad has joined a narrow majority in the House that has approved state-financed abortions for poor women in cases of rape, incest, genetic defect or if the psychological and mental health of the mother is threatened by the pregnancy.
The leaflet describes Winegrad’s voting record as “anti-life” and charges that it has resulted in “the brutal deaths of over sixteen thousand babies at taxpayer expense.” A coupon at the bottom asks for $5 to receive a copy of Winegrad’s voting record.
“The voters realize it’s a lie,” Winegrad said, adding he will not change his position when the (unclear) abortion-funding to the state budget comes to the House floor today or tomorrow.
Del. Dennis McCoy, D-Baltimore, another legislator targeted by the group, said he plans to sue for libel and slander.
“If my flyer says what that one (Winegrad’s) says the sheriff will be around tomorrow to serve the papers,” McCoy said Wednesday.
Jim Wright, executive director of the coalition of conservative Christians and neighborhood groups that formerly was associated with the Moral Majority, could not be reached for comment on the charges against the leaflets.
In an interview last week, Wright said about 500,000 flyers had been printed and that an earlier 8 page brochure had been mailed to about 150,000 state residents. He said the anti-abortion campaign is expected to cost $30,000 and will be continued this summer during the election campaign by a separate, political arm of the Family Protection Lobby.
Wright also warned that the lobbying group has few attachable assets in the event of a lawsuit. The organization’s expensive computers are part of a separate holding company and are not housed in the main office at 53 School St.
Delegates who plan to vote against state-funded abortions for mental health reasons disassociated themselves yesterday from the Wright lobbying effort.
“It’s a terrible brochure. It’s atrocious,” said Del. Elmer F. Hegner D.-Annapolis who said he would switch his vote but not as a result of pressure by the Family Protection Lobby. “They have no power over me.”
The Senate already has passed budget language allowing for the continuance of an estimated 3,000 state funded abortions this year, and backers of similar language in the House said the anti-abortion forces are losing ground with their tactics.
“I think this brochure will backfire,”said June McGuckian (sp?) a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood and Anne Arundel Citizens for the Right to Choose. “Most legislators I’ve talked to say this is the most outrageous lobbying tactic they have ever seen.”
Wright won national publicity late in 1980 when he attempted unsuccessfully to prevent a local bakery from selling gingerbread cookies that featured breasts and genitalia. The national Moral Majority later severed relations with Wright, who carried on as the Family Protection Lobby.
The next article in this series that presents an article from the Annapolis Capitol that characterizes Jim Wright as a “Self-Proclaimed Demagogue” is HERE.