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
Continue Reading Below
Susan B. Anthony List
Susan B. Anthony List, Inc. (SBA List) is a Virginia-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to passing anti-abortion legislation and training and electing anti-abortion candidates for state and federal office.
On April 8, 2019, CfA and a resident of O’Hara Township, Pennsylvania called on the Board of Elections and the District Attorney’s Office in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania to investigate SBA List Treasurer Robert J. Kania, Jr. and his firm, Kania Enterprises, Inc., among others, for multiple serious violations of Pennsylvania’s Campaign Finance Reporting Law. At the time, Mr. Kania was a member of the board of directors of the Port Authority of Allegheny County.
On November 5, 2018, Pittsburgh radio station WESA reported that a political committee named Americans Against Socialism was waging a write-in campaign to elect Dom Costa to represent the 21st District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. WESAreported that no political committee by that name had registered with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Furthermore, WESA interviewed Aspinwall Republican Gary Britcher who admitted that he and Mr. Kania had established Americans Against Socialism to oppose the election of Democratic candidate Sara Innamorato. WESAalso reported that the website for Americans Against Socialism had been registered in mid-October by Kania Enterprises, Inc. and that a PayPal page soliciting contributions to Americans Against Socialism directed contributors to make their contributions to email@example.com.
Pennsylvania law requires political committees to register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth and disclose their contributions and expenditures. Failing to disclose this information is punishable by fines of thousands of dollars and can result in prison sentencing.
Following CfA’s complaint, on April 11, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf removed Mr. Kania from his position as a board member of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Later that day, Mr. Kania registered Americans Against Socialism with the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth as an independent expenditure committee, and, in effect, admitted he had failed to follow Pennsylvania’s campaign finance disclosure laws.
On April 17, 2019, CfA sent a letter to the SBA List, calling for the removal of Mr. Kania from his position as treasurer of SBA List and its affiliated entities: the Susan B. Anthony List, Inc. Candidate Fund and the Women Speak Out PAC.
In addition to his apparent violation of campaign finance laws, Mr. Kania’s IT firm, acting as a vendor for SBA List, appears to have violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending mass robotexts during the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the summer of 2018. A class action lawsuit in Florida recently reached an agreement requiring SBA List to establish a $1 million fund for those illegally spammed through the conduct of Mr. Kania’s firm. Beyond the cost of the settlement, the lawsuit indicates Mr. Kania’s firm violated the TCPA and is subject to additional enforcement by the Federal Communications Commission.
In 2014, The Obria Group, a California-based nonprofit organization affiliated with Obria Medical Clinics, (collectively “Obria”) began organizing a national network of pregnancy clinics that oppose abortion without exception. Obria also refuses to provide contraceptive choices to its patients, including oral contraceptives, IUDs, or condoms. Instead, Obria offers only “fertility awareness,” a method to track ovulation to prevent pregnancy.
The anti-choice community has been positioning Obria as the national alternative to Planned Parenthood. In 2018, Obria applied for Title X Funding, but the application was rejected because Obria did not comply with Title X rules requiring providers to offer hormonal birth control.
On March 6, 2019, CfA filed two Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuits against HHS seeking records regarding the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back Title X funding for comprehensive family planning services. CfA is requested communications between HHS and Obria, calendars and communications with Diane Foley, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Population Affairs, and Obria’s application for Title V and Title X funds.
On March 21, 2019, CfA sent a letter to officials at HHS calling on the agency to review the error-riddled Title X application submitted by the Obria Group. The Houston Chronicle reported on March 18, 2019 that Obria organized a Title X grant application submitted in conjunction with the Heidi Group and two additional Texas-based medical clinics, Midland Community Healthcare Services, and the Community Wellness Clinic of Conroe.
Obria and the Heidi Group teamed up to submit an application that is riddled with errors. Reportedly, the grant application states that the Heidi Group serves more than 100 patients a week. However, a Heidi Group employee who left the group in March 2019 told a reporter that the clinic only services about 8 patients on a good day or 40 per week, which is less than half the number of patients represented in its grant application.
Additionally, the grant application also describes a different Heidi Group employee, a nurse named Ronda Schultz, as the group’s “top quality assurance officer.” However, according to reporting, Ms. Schultz left the Heidi Group in April 2018, approximately eight to nine months before Obria submitted the grant application. Finally, the Obria grant application omitted any information regarding the Heidi Group’s terminated state contracts or the ongoing audit of the Heidi Group’s questionable $1 million expenses.
On March 29, 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced the recipients of the Fiscal Year 2019 Title X Family Planning Services Grants. HHS awarded $1.7 million to the Obria Group in California for the current year, with an additional $1.7 million for each of the grant’s subsequent two years.
On April 17, 2019, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the chairwomen of two subcommittees, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar demanding documents regarding the agency’s decision to award $1.7 million in Title X family planning funds to Obria. The letter cites a New York Times article based largely on CfA’s investigation of Obria. The letter demands that HHS produce all communications between HHS officials and the Obria Group and demands that HHS release the Obria Group’s Title X applications. CfA filed a lawsuit against HHS demanding the agency release these documents.
Human Coalition, an anti-abortion, Texas-based nonprofit, acquired a North Carolina-based clinic, Curo Women’s Care Clinic of Raleigh, in 2016. In 2017, as a part of its appropriation to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship (“CPCF”), the state of North Carolina awarded $600,000 to the Raleigh clinic for a two-year Continuum of Care pilot program.
On March 20, 2019, CfA asked North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen, and the Internal Auditor for the Department of Health and Human Services, David King, to investigate and terminate the contract between the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Human Coalition. Human Coalition appears to be using the appropriated funds to support religious activities in violation of the United States and North Carolina Constitutions, as well as the explicit terms of its CPCF appropriation.
Human Coalition’s volunteer application, for example, asks whether applicants have “made a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ,” and how they rate their “knowledge of what the Bible teaches about abortion.” Both the state and federal constitutions prohibit the use of public funds to promote or endorse religious activities. In addition, the CPCF appropriation agreement explicitly provides that Continuum of Care funding “shall be used for nonsectarian purposes only.”
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.
On March 20, 2019, CfA requested the House Judiciary Committee refer Scott Lloyd to the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation. Mr. Lloyd appears to have committed a federal crime by deliberately providing false testimony to Congress during a February 26, 2019 hearing.
Exposing the Trump Administration’s Efforts to Roll Back Access to Family Planning Services
On February 27, 2018, CfA filed three 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 roll back access to family planning services.
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.
"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."
Continue Reading Below
In The News
Our Themis Project work has received widespread media coverage. View our news coverage under the categories below.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers
- Watchdog Organization Calls for (Another) Investigation into Failed Texas Anti-Abortion Group (Texas Observer)
- Watchdog nonprofit files detailed complaint regarding misconduct of NC anti-abortion outfit (The Progressive Pulse/NC Policy Watch)
- This Is a Very Bleak Preview of Reproductive Health Access After the Gag Rule (Jezebel)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- Trump Chooses No Choice (The New York Times)
- $5.1 Million in Federal Funding Will Really Help This Catholic Clinic Reach ‘Abortion-Vulnerable Women’ (Jezebel)
- Trump Administration Gives Family Planning Grant to Anti-Abortion Group (The New York Times)
- Watchdog group files complaint over Scott Lloyd’s congressional testimony. (Politico Pulse)
- 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)
- Groups sue HHS for docs on blocking abortions by undocumented teens (The Hill)
- 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)
- New Filings Show Phone Campaign in Anti-Socialist Effort May Cause More Headaches for Organizer (WESA)
- Gov. Wolf removes, replaces Port Authority board member (Tribune Review)
- Gov. Tom Wolf removes Port Authority board member Robert Kania (Pittsburgh City Paper)
- Wolf Announces Replacement of Port Authority Board Member Involved in Mysterious Political Committee (WESA)
- After transit group’s urging, Gov. Wolf replaces Port Authority Board Member (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Local anti-socialist political group under fire for allegedly failing to file financial reports (Pittsburgh City Paper)
- Complaint alleges violation of campaign finance law in aim to derail election of Democratic Socialist (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Campaign Finance Complaint Filed Against Group Involve in 2018 State House Race (WESA)
- 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)
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.