Creative LeadershipStrategy & MarketingChristian Media

Operation Rescue: When The Power of a Brand Name Divides

There’s a rather ugly situation going on with Operation Rescue.  The famous pro-life group’s founder and it’s current president are going to war over the “Operation Rescue” name.  The two abortion foes are locked in an increasingly nasty battle over ownership of the organization’s name, which the current president trademarked in 2006.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, Operation Rescue is a name worth fighting for: Whoever controls it benefits from its significant ability to raise money from those who oppose abortion.  But while both founder and current president are supposed to be crusading from a Christian perspective, the name calling, (“charlatan” and “weasel”) make the organization look foolish and petty in the eyes of the world.

This battle only proves two things:  On a positive side, a well-known brand name has enormous power in the marketplace, but on the negative side, if you lose control of it, it will destroy the organization it’s supposed to help.  I predict neither side will come out well.

Related Articles


  1. It’s hard to look at this issue and not get a little nauseous.  From a woman’s perspecitve, it just seems the tale is wagging the dog.  Brand issues aside, the whole abortion debate became a litmus test that allowed one side to make sweeping conclusions about the other side based on where they fell on one single debate.  Meanwhile the fact that women (and men) were making these very real life decisions, rarely if ever for political reasons,  meant nothing to either side except as a statistic to support their view. 

    The best quote in the LA Times article is Olasky’s quote   “About 20 years ago, the Operation Rescue activities were probably creating more support for abortion overall, and as the pro-life movement recognized that, the emphasis became one of offering compassionate help to women in a crisis,” said Olasky. “The group as a whole, and particularly Randy Terry, never made that leap.”  That, to me, is hope that we will actually bring genuine salt and light to the situation.

    This battle over the brand seems like residual fallout from the re-focusing of the issue.  By focusing on a more compassionate approach, it removes the polarization – so all that’s left is to fight over the brand.  In the meantime, both sides are undermining their integrity. 

    I don’t know.  Let whoever wants the brand, take it.  The abortion debate is a tired political issue.  Even for the left.  It must be if women are willing to start talking about the way abortion haunts like they are on television shows like DEFYING GRAVITY.  Even in defending their right to abort, they are acknowledging the tortured cost.  I don’t think Christ would dismiss a woman for making the wrong choice even if that choice grieved him.  I think his response would be compassion for a broken human being. 

  2. First I have to say that Operation Rescue, as Lisa so well stated, is proving that it has lost its original focus of love and care.  It was a great organization when it showed people the love of Christ while standing up for what is right in the eyes of God – the sanctity of human life.  However, they lost that image long ago.  They lost that image when the media began to focus on those with hateful signs and bitter spirits screaming to a confused, lost, and broken-hearted girl going into an abortion clinic.  Where were the men fighting for their brand then?  Where were the leaders standing up and saying, “That is not who we are.  This is who we are” then?  That, in my opinion, is when they lost their “brand.” 

    I disagree with Lisa that abortion is a tired political issue.  Mainly because I work with a program that provides support for women and girls that have chosen adoption or parenthood over abortion.  When it becomes personal, it is no longer just political.  

    I agree with Phil that neither side will come out unharmed.  From a legal standpoint, the founder doesn’t have a leg to stand on.  He should have trademarked the name years ago.  His business ignorance became someone else’s legal higher ground. 

    The point is that this is completely contrary to the way in which the Bible tells Christians how to handle legal and personal conflict.  If these leaders cannot follow Biblical principles in this most important area, can they be trusted to follow Biblical principles in other areas?

  3. The story as told in the LA Times strikes me as both sad and laughable.

    Phil, you are right about the power of a brand, but only in this world. WI think whichever man wins the prize in this petty battle will find that the brand will be utterly worthless in the Kingdom to come.


  4. Unfortunately, as Phil so aptly put, both sides are going to end up losing.

    From my point of view, whatever equity that had been built in the name will now be associated with infighting and pettyness. My guess is that supporters will try to distance themselves from both organizations to avoid being associated with such drama. There certainly are plenty of other pro-life organizations to choose from.


  5. Ditto on most of these.

    Perception is everything.  Regardless of how christians or conservatives perceive the issue, the real “newsworthy piece” is the negativity.

    Since this is how it began negative, then media will ride and look to enhance that image as long as the wave can be ridden.

    At some point, it no longer becomes a “private” (hey, that’s my company!) rights issue.  Since both are looking for public support, the only good thing that could happen is for one of the parties to “take the high road”.  However, that piece of news will probably go by the wayside….

    I have to say, i’d fight for it, if it was a semi-private legal battle.  Its not.  Now its time to see who will turn the other cheek.  That’s a battle in the ranks.  Let’s go win the war.


    Abortion will NEVER be a tired political issue…ever.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker