Who Funded the Recent State Abortion Bans?
“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:
|National Christian Charitable Foundation||2,648,798|
|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|
|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|
|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:
|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|
|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.