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Who Funded the Recent State Abortion Bans?

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

“This bill is about challenging Roe v. Wade and protecting the lives of the unborn because an unborn baby is a person who deserves love and protection. I have prayed my way through this bill.”

Thus far in 2019, several states have passed legislation that bans abortion at various stages of the mother’s pregnancy. Kentucky, Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi and Louisiana banned abortions after six weeks. Missouri passed an eight-week abortion ban, and Utah and Arkansas approved 18-week bans. So far, Alabama has passed the strictest law, banning almost all abortions. Now, an in-depth report from Sludge reveals which corporations and charities were behind funding for the bans.

Although states’ governors have signed legislation regarding the abortion bans, none of the laws have taken effect. Some are set to take place at later dates, and others are facing legal challenges.

Corporate Organizations That Donated to Anti-Abortion Groups

A multitude of various groups, both state and national, have given millions of dollars for the organization and lobbying that took place prior to the passing of the recent abortion bans. Sludge’s investigation revealed 182 donors to 20 groups directly involved in funding the 2019 abortion bans. Corporate groups, donor-advised funds and family foundations gave over $9.1 million to these groups between 2013 to 2017.

Often, large companies will match donations by employees to the nonprofit organizations of their choice. At least 15 companies donated to groups that supported the 2019 anti-abortion laws, although most contributions were relatively small amounts of a few hundred up to a few thousand dollars.

According to Sludge, the following corporate foundations donated to anti-abortion groups from 2013 to 2017: Adair-Exchange Bank Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation, AmazonSmile Foundation, AT&T Foundation, GE Foundation, Gelco Charitable Foundation, Illinois Tool Works Foundation, Medtronic Communities Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Shell Oil Company Foundation, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Pfizer Foundation and Verizon Foundation.

The above organizations contributed to these anti-abortion groups: Alabama Policy Institute, Charlotte Lozier Institute Legal Defense Fund, Citizens For Community Values, Concerned Women for America, Family Trust Foundation of Kentucky, Life Issues Institute, Louisiana Right to Life Foundation, National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, Ohio Right to Life Society Educational Fund and South Carolina Citizens for Life.

Major drug company Pfizer was among the companies to donate to anti-abortion groups between 2013 and 2017. Groups that Pfizer donated to include the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, the Family Foundation of Kentucky and the Life Issues Institute.

Sally Beatty, a Pfizer spokesperson, told Sludge: “The Pfizer Foundation works to expand access to quality health care for under-served communities. We currently support a program that focuses on improving access to immunization and family planning services for women in developing countries.” She continued that the foundation “matches U.S. employee contributions to any non-profit, charitable health care, education, civic or cultural organization recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization.”

Although Beatty did not elaborate on guidelines for approving matching employee donations, she went on to say, “Our employees support a broad range of organizations that reflect their diverse interests. We are proud of the diversity of our colleagues and respect their right to support organizations that are meaningful to them and their communities.”

Family Foundations That Donated to Anti-Abortion Groups

As researched by Sludge, the following family foundations gave significant sums of money to various groups that supported the 2019 abortion laws: the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation ($5,000 to Concerned Women for America and $1,000 to the National Right to Life Committee), the Gary and Diane Heavin (Gary Heavin is the founder and chairman of Curves International) Community Fund  ($600,000 to the National Right to Life Committee), the John H. Watson Charitable Foundation ($145,000 to the Alabama Policy Institute), the foundation of Laura and John Arnold, major charter school proponents ($78,000 to the Alabama Policy Institute in 2014), the family foundation of Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte ($200,000 to the Charlotte Lozier Institute Legal Defense Fund and $25,000 to the Family Policy Foundation from 2013 to 2017), the Charles Koch-funded State Policy Network, a conservative policy and political group ($65,000 to its member the Alabama Policy Institute from 2014-17) and the Thirteen Foundation, funded by Texas billionaire fracker Farris Wilks (over $1.3 million to the National Christian Foundation in 2015).

Miscellaneous Organizations That Donated to Anti-Abortion Groups

Other anti-abortion organizations include Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a network of Christian attorneys who advocate and fund issues such as “religious freedom, sanctity of life and marriage and family” and Americans United for Life (AUL), an anti-abortion public interest advocacy group and law firm.

Sludge compiled a list of donors to the ADF and the AUL.

Donor-Advised Funds Sponsors That Donated to Anti-Abortion Groups

Donor-advised funds (DAF) are accumulated through individual accounts that charities manage. This allows organizations to anonymously channel their clients’ donations to other charities. DAF sponsors have been the largest donors to anti-abortion groups this year.

The National Christian Foundation is a major DAF that transmitted the most money to anti-abortion groups from 2013 to 2017. The foundation channeled more than $610,000 to the Alabama Policy Institute alone.

The Alabama Policy Institute said of Alabama’s recent six-week abortion ban: “The Alabama Policy Institute, in our own efforts and through the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, has supported the ban on abortion since its inception. Today, we applaud the state legislature for standing for life.”

To read about other DAF sponsors of anti-abortion legislation, see Sludge’s list.

Organizations That Donated to Groups That Were Proponents of 2019 Abortion Bans

Below is a list of the top 25 nonprofit organizations that donated to groups who fought for 2019 abortion bans, as identified by Sludge:

Donor Amount
National Christian Charitable Foundation 2,648,798
Fidelity Charitable 890,818
Tulsa Community Foundation 700,000
Gary & Diane Heavin Community 600,000
California Community Foundation 455,000
Greater Houston Community Foundation 243,250
Gianforte Family Charitable Trust 225,000
The Psalms Foundation 197,505
Schwab Charitable 196,200
Vanguard Charitable 167,500
John H. Watson Charitable Foundation 145,000
Living Stones Foundation Charitable Trust 130,400
The San Diego Foundation 118,000
Alabama Power Foundation 115,400
Mills Family Foundation 94,500
Laura and John Arnold Foundation 78,000
ICE Charitable Foundation 75,000
The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham 72,250
Francis P. Chiaramonte, M.D. Family Foundation 70,000
Sedler Family Foundation 70,000
Alliance Defending Freedom 67,000
Chiaroscuro Foundation 65,000
State Policy Network 65,000
Ken W. Davis Foundation 60,250
CACA Jones Family Foundation 57,520

A more comprehensive list can be viewed on Sludge’s website.

Groups That Advocated for 2019 Abortion Bans

As compiled by Sludge, below is a list of groups that advocated for the 2019 anti-abortion laws, along with states and amounts donated:

Recipient State Amount
Alabama Policy Institute Alabama 1,565,233
Citizens For Community Values Ohio 365,765
Commonwealth Policy Foundation Kentucky 13,000
Concerned Women for America National 1,394,028
Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee National 25,000
Faith2Action Ohio/National 34,200
Family Council Arkansas 194,100
Family Policy Foundation National 532,675
Family Trust Foundation of Kentucky Kentucky 349,465
Georgia Life Alliance Georgia 137,250
Life Issues Institute Ohio/National 472,145
Louisiana Right to Life Foundation Louisiana 8050
Missouri Family Policy Council Missouri 51,750
National Right to Life Committee National 615,335
National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund National 1,326,097
Ohio Right to Life Society Ohio 30,900
Ohio Right to Life Society Educational Fund Ohio 7627
Palmetto Family Council South Carolina 19,380
South Carolina Citizens for Life South Carolina 7192
Charlotte Lozier Institute Legal Defense Fund National 1,955,730

What Anti-Abortion and Pro-Choice Advocates Are Saying

The Washington Post recently reported on the comments Alabama state Rep. Terri Collins (R) made about the bill she sponsored: “This bill is about challenging Roe v. Wade and protecting the lives of the unborn because an unborn baby is a person who deserves love and protection. I have prayed my way through this bill. This is the way we get where we want to get eventually.”

After Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed the abortion bill making performing an abortion a felony once what they believe is the fetal heartbeat is detected March 16, a federal judge blocked the bill temporarily the next day. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky’s staff attorney, Heather Gatnarek, spoke with Sludge. According to Gatnarek, the occurrences in her state are “part of a larger effort.”

“What’s happening here is part of a decades-long strategy by anti-abortion politicians, lobbyists and national organizations that have left increasingly vast areas of our country with few or no abortion providers. Apart from violating people’s basic rights to health and decision-making, these abortion bans have dire consequences for women’s health and families’ economic stability,” Gatnarek said.

Leighanna Shirey

Leighanna graduated with a degree in English from Pensacola Christian College. After teaching high school English for five years, she decided to pursue her dream of writing and editing. When not working, she enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her dogs, and drinking way too much coffee.


  1. Brian June 20, 2019

    MAY 31, 2019 World’s smallest surviving baby born at 23 weeks celebrated by pro-life advocates

    A micro preemie nicknamed Saybie was about the size of an apple weighing just 8.6 ounces when she was born at 23 weeks.


  2. Lovisa June 22, 2019

    How much money was given towards helping would be mothers raise their child with the food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare it will need?


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