An Ohio pro-life Tea Party activist announced Monday that he will challenge Ohio Congressman John Boehner in the 2012 Republican primary, stating that the 2012 House Speaker's record on abortion is "disappointing."
Lewis made the announcement at noon in front of John Boehner's Butler County office. Lewis explained his decision in a statement released before his formal announcement.
"I used to believe in John Boehner until I found that his words were empty promises," he stated.
Lewis said Boehner promised to defend the unborn, stating in June 2010, "There is no cause more noble than the defense of human life. There is no mission more critical. No debate more urgent." However, he believes the House Speaker has since compromised his pro-life stance.
"In his first nine months as House Speaker, John Boehner has had several opportunities to defund the largest baby killers in America – Planned Parenthood. But Boehner caved in to Obama, and gave Planned Parenthood taxpayer's (sic) hard-earned dollars. Neither pro-lifers nor Tea Party activists should ever forgive John Boehner for lavishing our money on Planned Parenthood," Lewis charged.
Lewis, the father of a 2-year-old girl, plans to broadcast graphic campaign ads showing the bodies of aborted babies as part of his campaign, according to the Dayton Daily News.
House Speaker Boehner and his Republican colleagues, however, did pass a stop gap continuing resolutions cutting Title 10 federal funds for abortion clinics. Boehner also led Republicans to pass the Pence Amendment, aimed at cutting Title 10 funding (approximately $300 million) to abortion providers.
Neither of the bills was approved in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Pro-life and pro-family groups such as Family Research Council, Susan B. Anthony List, Priests for Life and 40 Days for Life have all rallied their members in support of Republican efforts.
Tom McClusky, FRC's vice president for government affairs, said of Boehner, "I think he's one of the most pro-life speakers that we've ever had."
Some pro-lifers remain unimpressed. Randall Terry, founder of pro-life group Operation Rescue, and five others protested Boehner's office in February, chanting, "Defund Planned Parenthood. No compromise."
During the protests, Terry told Politico, "If Boehner holds the line, he'll be a hero. If he betrays the pro-life movement, then he has blood on his hands and he is collaborating with pimps and child molesters."
Terry said he wants to stop federal dollars from going to abortion providers, but more importantly he wants to abolish Roe v. Wade from the law books. To accomplish this, he said Americans must have "a crisis of conscious" and elect lawmakers who will approve a bill abolishing abortion and a president who will sign that bill.
On his website, Terry is critical of both Democrats and Republicans who, he described, "say that they’re pro-life, but really don't do anything." He encourages ordinary citizens like Lewis to run pro-life campaigns in their districts. Terry is also running for president in the Democratic primary.
Like Terry, Lewis has participated in pro-life protests at Boehner's office and the office of Harry Reid (D-Nev.). He was arrested during both protests. Lewis, 26, just barely clears the constitutionally-mandated age of 25 required to run for office.
McClusky acknowledged that many conservatives are frustrated with Republicans right now, but says Lewis is not going about the solution the right way.
"It's been the Senate that has been holding things,” said McClusky. "I think we need to elect more pro-life congressmen [and senators]" to give Boehner the help he needs to pass pro-life legislation.
Boehner has served in Congress since 1991 and has been re-elected 10 times. Last year, he beat two Republican candidates in the primary with 85 percent of the votes.
The Christian Post contacted Boehner's office for its comment on Lewis' campaign, but did not receive a response in time for publication.