FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2018
Today, the day before Donald Trump’s March for Life appearance, NARAL Pro-Choice America is releasing a new, comprehensive, opposition research report, The Insidious Power of the Anti-Choice Movement. In the report, NARAL Pro-Choice America details how the anti-choice movement infiltrated the Trump administration and our government to erode access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion access, and deceive women along the way.
“This report is the first of its kind, and documents the inner workings of the anti-choice movement in a way that far exceeds what people currently understand about its agenda,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “This information is critical to understanding how the movement’s insidious and out of step agenda is becoming reality day by day in this country. We know that their influence is outsized relative to the popularity of their fringe agenda thanks to their highly coordinated, well-funded, under the radar work. While 7 in 10 Americans support legal abortion, this movement – fully empowered by the Trump administration – does everything it can to meet its sinister goals of governing all aspects of women’s reproductive health from banning abortion outright to limiting access to contraception. We’ll continue building a proactive resistance in defense of their rights and reproductive freedom.”
The Insidious Power of the Anti-Choice Movement exposes the extreme and often dangerous records of the anti-choice movement’s most prominent activists, the tactics they use to foist their personal and fringe views on everyday Americans, and the key connections they have to the conservative movement, and in particular, its anti-LGBTQ agenda. The report highlights five key areas the movement has focused on in pushing their ideological agenda:
- The anti-choice movement has created a pipeline for conservative legal minds from law school to the courthouse: The anti-choice movement has been strategically curating and nurturing judges to appointed to federal courts, laying the foundation for courts that will rule in their favor—all the way up to the Supreme Court.
- The anti-choice movement strategically identifies, targets, and supports young law students who show promise in advancing an anti-choice agenda. With help from well-connected anti-choice leaders, these individuals can eventually become judges and be positioned on the bench to hear cases on the bills that the anti-choice movement writes and that are intended to challenge Roe. This long-term grooming includes connecting law students with plum career opportunities, regularly checking in to maintain the lawyer’s anti-choice perspective, and ultimately, handing-picking and serving up these individuals to the Trump administration to fill judicial vacancies.
- Anti-choice organizations craft model anti-choice legislation with the goal of provoking a challenge to the foundation of Roe v. Wade: The anti-choice movement crafts legislation that’s intended to go through the court system and provoke a challenge to Roe v. Wade, hopefully overturning it one day.
- At the same time the anti-choice movement is grooming ideologically-aligned lawyers to sit on the bench, they are also working to pass state-level legislation to advance specific cases that are explicitly grounded in the goal of overturning Roe, as a means of creating precedent in the lower courts that will ultimately strengthen a higher court challenge of Roe when the conditions are ripe.
- Anti-choice organizations maintain on-the-ground efforts by creating and propping up deceitful, fake health clinics that lure women in with misinformation: Fake health clinics with an anti-choice agenda are increasingly medicalizing their advertisements, yet they are not providing the corresponding medical services. And often, the individuals operating the fake health clinics are the same people who protest outside abortion clinics—creating a tightly woven network of anti-abortion activists that each fulfill different roles in the movement.
- Their political influence creates the illusion that the anti-choice agenda is more popular than it is: The anti-choice movement wields outsized influence, appearing to have more support than they actually do, because individuals at every level—be it a protester, leader of a fake health clinic, or founder of an anti-choice advocacy organization—have outsize influence in their field and actively work to reinforce each other’s work and raise each other’s profile. This echo-chamber effect creates the facade that their audience is broader than it actually is, and makes anti-choice beliefs seem much more popular than actually reflected in public opinion.
- The anti-choice agenda is deeply embedded in the broader conservative movement’s funding machine, but flies very much under the radar: The major funding behind virtually all facets of the anti-choice movement (from fake health centers, to legal organizations, to political campaigns) is done by a handful of conservative mega-donors such as the Betsy Devos and Rebekah Mercer families. Wealthy, conservative families fund every facet of the anti-choice movement, creating an infrastructure of power and influence in the White House, the judiciary, Congress and media.
Download the full report from NARAL Pro-Choice America here.
NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”