Men’s Catholic order gave secret millions to ‘deceptive’ anti-abortion centres

Revealed: Tax filings show Knights of Columbus ploughed at least $10.8m into ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ in six years

Open Democracy – by Diana Cariboni, Angelina De Los Santos, Mónica Cordero
14 February 2024

A multi-billion-dollar all-male Catholic order in the US has handed at least $10.8m to hundreds of anti-abortion centres in six years, openDemocracy can reveal – several times what was previously known.

Founded in the 19th century to assist Irish widows and orphans in the US, the Knights of Columbus – named after Christopher Columbus – funded at least 485 of the 2,500 so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ in America between 2017 and 2022, our analysis of hundreds of documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) found. The order claims to have two million members.


Anti-abortion centers raked in $1.4bn in year Roe fell, including federal money

Exclusive: memo shows anti-abortion pregnancy centers received at least $344m in government money in 2022

Carter Sherman
Wed 14 Feb 2024

Anti-abortion facilities raked in at least $1.4bn in revenue in the 2022 fiscal year, the year Roe v Wade fell – a staggering haul that includes at least $344m in government money, according to a memo analyzing the centers’ tax documents that was compiled by a pro-abortion rights group and shared exclusively with the Guardian.

These facilities, frequently known as anti-abortion pregnancy centers or crisis pregnancy centers, aim to convince people to keep their pregnancies. But in the aftermath of Roe’s demise, the anti-abortion movement has framed anti-abortion pregnancy centers as a key source of aid for desperate women who have lost the legal right to end their pregnancies and been left with little choice but to give birth.


USA – For some pregnant patients, unregulated anti-abortion centers are the only affordable option

Research has found that crisis pregnancy centers often provide inaccurate information about pregnancy, which can influence people's reproductive decisions.

Shefali Luthra, Health Reporter
February 9, 2024

Savannah McNally was 24 years old, and in the middle of a divorce, trying to sell her house, wrapping up her service in the Navy and figuring out a way to finish college. She was also pregnant.

“It was pretty much instantly a feeling of dread. I didn’t want to be pregnant. I don’t want kids,” McNally recalled. “I was crying and screaming, ‘This is not going to happen.’”


States to award anti-abortion centers roughly $250m in post-Roe surge

At least 16 states will fund largely unregulated facilities that try to convince people to continue their pregnancies

Carter Sherman
thu 28 Dec 2023

In the months since the US supreme court overturned Roe v Wade, at least 16 states have agreed to funnel more than $250m in taxpayer dollars towards anti-abortion facilities and programs that try to convince people to continue their pregnancies.

Much of that money is set to go to anti-abortion counseling centers, or crisis pregnancy centers, according to data provided by the Guttmacher Institute and Equity Forward, organizations that support abortion rights. It has been paid out throughout 2023 and will stretch into 2025.


UK anti-abortion charity with links to MPs ran misleading Facebook ads

Right to Life UK boosted its spend on the social media platform tenfold in three years

Sian Norris and Manasa Narayanan
Sat 16 Dec 2023

A leading UK anti-abortion charity with ties to MPs and peers has increased its Facebook advertising spend more than tenfold in three years, spending nearly £190,000 on advertising campaigns.

In a joint investigation, the Observer and the Citizens analysed the spend and content of hundreds of Facebook ads paid for by Right to Life UK between June 2020 and November 2023. The findings reveal the charity – which provides the secretariat for the Pro-Life All Party Parliamentary Group – spent an average of £117,000 in 2023, an increase from an average £11,400 in 2020, £16,900 in 2021 and £43,600 in 2022.


Anti-abortion attorneys ascend federal government ranks with Christian right legal training

The conservative Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom’s expansive ties include federal judges and most recently Speaker of the House

DECEMBER 10, 2023

When Mississippi Solicitor General Scott G. Stewart presented Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2021, he argued that state lawmakers should be able to ban abortion at any time in pregnancy, not just after so-called “viability,” the point where a fetus could survive outside of a uterus. The U.S. Constitution, he said, does not specifically protect the “purposeful termination of a human life.”

“The viability line discounts and disregards state interests,” Stewart said, according to the transcript of the oral arguments, contending that state lawmakers should be able to draw an earlier line on when they believe human life officially begins.


15-week abortion bans are the center of Republican debate. Experts say that cutoff is arbitrary.

Anti-abortion politicians have recently linked 15-weeks to fetal pain. That benchmark has been moving for years — and it's still not accurate.

Shefali Luthra
December 6, 2023

The Republican debate over abortion has centered around one number: 15. Backers of a 15-week federal ban tout it as a compromise measure, even in the face of recent electoral defeat.

Anti-abortion advocates hope congressional candidates will embrace this measure, and they’re pushing GOP presidential candidates to promise they would sign such a bill.


USA – ‘Plain historical falsehoods’: How amicus briefs bolstered Supreme Court conservatives

A POLITICO review indicates most conservative briefs in high-profile cases have links to a small cadre of activists aligned with Leonard Leo.

Dec 3, 2023

Princeton Professor Robert P. George, a leader of the conservative legal movement and confidant of the judicial activist and Donald Trump ally Leonard Leo, made the case for overturning Roe v. Wade in an amicus brief a year before the Supreme Court issued its watershed ruling.

Roe, George claimed, had been decided based on “plain historical falsehoods.” For instance, for centuries dating to English common law, he asserted, abortion has been considered a crime or “a kind of inchoate felony for felony-murder purposes.”


Breaking the Silence: Abortion Rights in Kenya – BBC Africa Eye documentary

BBC News Africa
Nov 26, 2023
Film:  45 minutes

Across the world, debates are raging about access to safe abortion. Complications from unsafe, backstreet procedures are a leading cause of maternal death in developing countries. In Kenya, where almost two-thirds of pregnancies are unintended, unregulated terminations are estimated to claim the lives of over 2,000 women every year.

BBC Africa Eye reporter Linda Ngari investigates a hidden crisis that has led to an estimated seven Kenyan women dying from unsafe abortions every day, with many more facing life-altering complications.


The Right to Contraception: State and Federal Actions, Misinformation, and the Courts

Mabel Felix, Laurie Sobel, and Alina Salganicoff
Oct 26, 2023

The Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling has heightened interest in affirming the right to contraception. While the Court’s majority opinion stated that the Dobbs decision does not “cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion,” Justice Thomas argued in his concurring opinion that in future cases, the Court should reconsider precedent that relied on the same principles as Roe – including Griswold v. Connecticut, the Court’s 1965 landmark decision that recognized the right of married people to obtain contraceptives – and overturn those decisions. The prospect of the Court overturning Griswold moved some in Congress to introduce federal legislation that would protect the right to contraception, though that legislation is unlikely to advance in the current divided Congress. Similarly, some state legislators have recently introduced measures to protect the right to obtain contraceptives.