January 31, 2019 In The News, Themis Project

Christian right groups roll out their radical anti-woman campaign — overseas

By: Amanda Marcotte, Salon, January 30, 2019

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump famously said in a TV interview that there should be “some form of punishment” for women who get abortions. Anti-choice leaders reacted with postures of outraged denial, denying that they shared the politically unpalatable belief that women should be sent to prison for having abortions.

“They’re talking out of one side of their mouth in the U.S.,” said Mary Alice Carter of Equity Forward. “But when you follow the money, you always see where people’s values really lie.”

Carter was specifically referring to a little-known but powerful group called Human Life International (HLI), which shares a Virginia office building with LifeSite. HLI, which works internationally to oppose LGBT and women’s rights, is the subject of a legal complaint filed with the IRS Wednesday morning  by the Campaign for Accountability, which says that it “appears HLI abused its tax-exempt status by failing to report its lobbying expenditures” and “engaging in prohibited political campaign activity.”

HLI denied these accusations to Salon, saying that the group has “never supported candidates in domestic nor foreign elections.”

Alice Huling, counsel for the Campaign for Accountability, disagreed, saying that the group’s activities “look to be pretty blatant violation of the tax laws.”

The complaint itself details the surge in funding that flowed from HLI to the Philippines during a political fight over a bill that would make contraception available to the larger public. Previously, birth control had only been a luxury available to affluent people in the Philippines. HLI opposed the bill and worked to repeal the law after it had passed. According to the Campaign for Accountability, HLI failed to report the money it spent on lobbying and working with another group to endorse anti-contraception candidates, which is illegal under American tax law.

While the complaint focuses on anti-contraception organizing in the Philippines, HLI has also drawn fire in the past for its work in El Salvador, a country whose strict abortion ban has led to many women being imprisoned.

Read the rest of the article here.