Holding the Anti-Choice Movement Accountable.
A woman’s right to choose has been the law of the land for more than 40 years, but the anti-choice movement is gaining traction across the country, threatening the reproductive rights of millions of Americans. We’re not going to sit on the sidelines as self-serving politicians and ethically-challenged organizations take away Americans’ access to affordable family planning and constitutionally-protected reproductive health care services. We’re fighting back. Campaign for Accountability’s Themis Project is working to hold the anti-choice movement accountable and fighting to protect reproductive rights at the state and national level.
CfA is drawing on its experience as a national accountability organization to expose misconduct and malfeasance in the anti-choice movement and to defend reproductive rights across the country. CfA’s Themis Project will hold bad actors in the anti-choice movement accountable through litigation, research, and aggressive communications.
Below is a summary of our Themis Project actions to date. If you have any questions about our work – or if you have any tips about the anti-choice movement – please visit our contact page.
/ˈθiːmɨs/ From Greek Mythology, goddess of justice and order
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Human Life International, Inc.
On January 30, 2019, CfA filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service alleging Human Life International, Inc. (“HLI”), a nonprofit anti-choice organization based in Front Royal, Virginia, failed to report lobbying expenditures and engaged in prohibited political activities in support of its anti-abortion advocacy efforts in the Philippines.
HLI, whose stated goal is to “build a Culture of Life and of Love around the world through education, outreach, and advocacy,” claims to be the world’s largest international nonprofit anti-choice organization. HLI has been active on reproductive issues in the Philippines, specifically advocating to keep abortion illegal and to elect candidates who share its views.
CfA’s complaint lays out three areas in which HLI apparently violated IRS regulations. First, HLI directly lobbied members of the Philippine Congress and engaged in grassroots advocacy campaigns without reporting those related expenditures on its annual tax form as required by law. Second, HLI spent money to intervene in political campaigns, and finally, HLI representatives spoke out in support of political candidates at public events in the Philippines.
Real Alternatives (“RA”) is an anti-abortion nonprofit based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Since 2013, RA has been the sole administrator of the Michigan Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program, under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
On January 14, 2019, Campaign for Accountability asked Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Auditor General Doug Ringler to investigate and terminate Michigan’s contract with RA.
CfA’s investigation of RA revealed that, despite receiving $2.6 million in Michigan taxpayer funds over the course of nearly five years, RA has only served 3,771 pregnant women, despite promising to serve 2,000 women during the first year of the program.
Further, RA appears to be skimming state funds by withholding 3% of the MPPSP funding intended for subcontractors for its own private, unspecified use, even though RA’s administrative expenses are separately provided for in the MPPSP contract. In Pennsylvania, where RA also operates, the auditor general concluded such skimming was improper and RA’s agreement with the state was revised.
On October 20, 2017, CfA asked the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to investigate whether Office of Refugee Resettlement (“ORR”) Director Scott Lloyd broke federal law by abusing his position and government resources to prevent unaccompanied pregnant immigrant minors from having legal abortions and to coerce some into continuing their pregnancies against their will.
Having joined the Trump administration from a position as an attorney with the Catholic organization, Knights of Columbus, Mr. Lloyd appears to have engaged in a pattern of violating the rights of unaccompanied, pregnant immigrant minors to further his personal political agenda. Shortly after becoming the Director of ORR in March, Mr. Lloyd began zealously enforcing a new policy to make it as difficult as possible for these girls, many of whom do not speak English, and some of whom he has prevented from consulting with legal counsel, to obtain abortions.
Additionally, on October 26, 2017, CfA called on the Virginia State Bar to investigate whether Scott Lloyd violated the Virginia State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Lloyd deliberately violated the U.S. Constitution and other federal and state laws to prevent unaccompanied pregnant immigrant minors from obtaining abortions.
Furthermore, on February 2, 2018, CfA and Equity Forward, represented by American Oversight, filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeking records from the Office of Refugee Resettlement regarding the efforts to prevent unaccompanied immigrant minors from exercising their constitutional right to abortion. The lawsuits come amid a report that ORR Director Scott Lloyd discussed having a minor within the agency’s care undergo an unproven “abortion reversal” procedure aimed at reversing a medication-induced abortion. The medical community has been critical of the procedure.
On October 18, 2018, CfA called on officials at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to investigate whether Scott Lloyd violated ethics rules by using his government position to help secure a government contract for his former employer, the Knights of Columbus.
On December 17, 2018, CfA asked the HHS Inspector General to investigate the Office of Refugee Resettlement and Scott Lloyd for improperly obstructing a teenager’s access to reproductive healthcare and for providing her with religious counseling and materials – including Bible verses – while in ORR’s custody.
The Heidi Group
The Heidi Group is an anti-choice nonprofit based in Round Rock, Texas that counsels women against having abortions. In 2016 and 2017, the State of Texas awarded $7 million to the group allegedly to help women access state health care services after the State Legislature cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.
On September 26, 2017, Campaign for Accountability asked the Travis County District Attorney in Austin, Texas to investigate the Heidi Group, and its executive director, Carol Everett, for misappropriating funds and engaging in deceptive business practices. We also asked the IRS to investigate the group’s nonprofit tax status.
CfA’s six-month investigation of the Heidi Group, relying on thousands of pages of state records, revealed an appalling record of mismanagement and neglect by Everett. CfA found the Heidi Group provided almost no work for its $1.6 million contract through the Healthy Texas Women program or for its $5.1 million contract through the Family Planning Program.
On February 28, 2018, CfA and the Texas Freedom Network called on Texas lawmakers to investigate why the Texas Health and Human Services Commission renewed contracts – worth millions of taxpayer dollars – with the Heidi Group, despite the Heidi Group’s failure to deliver promised services under its original contracts.
On October 12, 2018, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced that as of December 11, 2018, the Heidi Group would no longer receive state contracts to provide health services to low-income women. The Commission demanded that the Heidi Group pay the state the $29,431 for cost of the investigation, and the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into the group’s $1.1 million in billed costs.
Holding Crisis Pregnancy Centers Accountable
Crisis pregnancy centers trick unsuspecting pregnant women into believing they are walking into health clinics, when they’re really ending up in anti-abortion ‘counseling’ centers. CfA seeks to hold such organizations accountable whenever they appear to break the law.
Attleboro Women’s Health Center
The Attleboro Women’s Health Center in Attleboro, Massachusetts, masquerades as an abortion clinic, but is actually part of a pro-life organization that tries to deceive women seeking abortion-related services. On November 9, 2017, CfA called on the Massachusetts Attorney General to investigate this fake clinic for engaging in deceptive business practices in violation of Massachusetts law. Following CfA’s complaint, Rewire reported that the Attleboro clinic scrubbed misleading claims from its website.
Elizabeth’s New Life Center and Heartbeat of Toledo
On June 5, 2018, CfA called on Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to investigate two crisis pregnancy centers, Elizabeth’s New Life Center and Heartbeat of Toledo, for engaging in deceptive business practices in violation of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Protection Act.
Uncovering Information on the Trump Administration’s Rollback of Access to Family Planning Services
On February 27, 2018, CfA filed three Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. State Department, and the United States Agency for International Development (“USAID”) regarding the Trump Administration’s efforts to rollback access to family planning services.
"A woman's right to choose has been the law of the land for more than 40 years, but the anti-choice movement is gaining traction across the country, threatening the reproductive rights of millions of Americans. We're not going to sit on the sidelines as self-serving politicians and ethically-challenged organizations take away Americans' access to affordable family planning and constitutionally-protected reproductive health care services. We're fighting back."
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In The News
Our Themis Project work has received widespread media coverage.
- Anti-Choice Group Broke Tax Laws to Back Brutal Abortion Laws Overseas, Watchdogs Say (Rewire)
- Christian right groups roll out their radical anti-women campaign – overseas (Salon)
- Will Michigan Governor End State Funding for Anti-Choice Clinic Network? (Rewire)
- Watchdog org. filing complaint against anti-abortion group with state contract (Michigan Advance)
- A raped migrant teen asked Trump officials for an abortion. She got counseling with Bible verses and coloring. (VICE News)
- Trump Official in Charge of Separated Kids Has Been Accused of Violating Ethics Rules (VICE News)
- Anti-abortion group was awarded millions but only helped 5 percent of the 70,000 it vowed to serve (Dallas Morning News)
- Will Ohio’s Anti-Choice Attorney General Ignore Complaints Against Fake Clinics? (Rewire)
- Texas renewed contract for anti-abortion group after nixing funds last year (Politico Pro)
- Groups sue HHS for docs on blocking abortions by undocumented teens (The Hill)
- Massachusetts Fake Clinic Deletes Deceptive Claims From Website After Legal Complaint (Rewire)
- Massachusetts Women’s Health Center Actually a Fake Abortion Clinic, Says Watchdog Group (Newsweek)
- Watchdog: Massachusetts Fake Clinic Illegally Deceives Abortion Patients (Rewire)
- Scott Lloyd Must Be Stopped (Slate)
- How a Trump Appointee Weaponized His Religious Beliefs to Deny Care to Immigrant Girls (Rewire)
- Undocumented Teenager Obtains Abortion After Court Victory (The New York Times)
- Attorneys for undocumented teen in Texas ask federal court for another hearing (Dallas Morning News)
- Anti-Abortion Group Hit with Legal Complaints for Misusing State Funds (San Antonio Current)
- Texas anti-abortion group stole millions earmarked for women’s health services, watchdog agency says (Dallas Morning News)
Get In Touch
Please contact us if you have any questions about our work, or if you have a tip about wrongdoing in the anti-choice movement.
There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to hold the anti-choice movement accountable. We’ll be busy documenting corruption, uncovering malfeasance, and releasing government records that expose injustice. Don’t miss out: follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our mailing list to get the latest from the Themis Project.