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Operation Rescue fires back after senator accuses them of advocating violence

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) gestures to picture behind him as he questions Attorney General-designate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Capitol Hill Tuesday during Sessions' conformation hearing. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

An anti-abortion group is firing back after Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) accused them of promoting violence against abortion providers and asked Attorney General-designate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to disavow their support during his confirmation hearing Monday.

Blumenthal asked Sessions to “disavow” the pro-life group Operation Rescue, a group that Blumenthal said advocated the “execution” of abortion providers. The group praised the selection of Sessions as attorney general.

The Connecticut senator displayed a poster he attributed to the group that he said was “circulated widely in the 1990s and early 2000s” calling for harm to Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortionist who was murdered in 2009. Blumenthal also said that the group called for Tiller's murderer to be treated as "a political prisoner."

“Will you disavow their endorsement of you?” Blumenthal asked Sessions.

“I disavow any activity like that, absolutely,” Sessions replied, adding:

And a group that would even suggest that is unacceptable, and I will enforce the laws that make clear that a person who wants to receive a lawful abortion cannot be blocked by protesters and disruptions of a doctor’s practice. I might not favor that. I am pro-life as you know, but we’ve settled on some laws that are clearly effective, and as attorney general, you can be sure we would follow them.

Operation Rescue called Blumenthal’s remarks about their organization “false and slanderous” in a written statement.

The group denied advocating violence against abortion providers and denied that they circulated the poster.

They additionally denied calling for Tiller's murderer to be treated as a political prisoner and said they have "always been clear that murder or other violent acts are an unacceptable means of advocacy."

Operation Rescue said it has a “long history of peaceful activism within the law in advocating for innocent life.”

They also called for an apology and a retraction from Blumenthal.

“That was a cheap shot by a hack politician who thinks he can lie about us with impunity and without consequences in order to advance his political agenda,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said in a statement. “We are considering legal action to protect our good reputation.”

A spokesperson for Blumenthal’s office did not immediately return TheBlaze’s request for comment.

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