Watchdog Releases More than Seven Thousand Government Documents About Anti-Abortion Groups and Crisis Pregnancy Centers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2019
Contact: Julia Long, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, released the Themis Project’s Government Records Archive, containing more than 7,000 government documents consisting of tens of thousands of pages about anti-abortion advocacy organizations, crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), and government efforts to curtail reproductive rights. CfA obtained the documents from government agencies through state open records requests and federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. CfA compiled the documents as a part of its Themis Project, which seeks to hold the anti-choice movement accountable. CfA will continue to add documents to the database as they become available.
CfA Counsel Alice Huling said, “For the last two years, CfA has been documenting how anti-choice groups deceive women, waste government money, and violate tax laws. With the release of these records, journalists, regulators, and the public can dig into the documents and uncover instances of unethical conduct.”
In 2017, CfA launched the Themis Project to investigate the anti-choice movement and hold bad actors accountable. Today’s release contains documents in response to 67 open records requests filed with local and state governments and 18 FOIA requests filed with federal agencies. Additionally, CfA filed four lawsuits to force federal agencies to turn over documents responsive to CfA’s FOIA requests. The Government Records Archive includes documents from five federal agencies and from records requests to government agencies in 20 states. CfA has relied on these documents to file complaints against anti-choice groups and inform the media about their illicit actions.
On October 18, 2018, CfA called on officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether Scott Lloyd, the former director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, violated ethics rules by using his government position to help secure a government contract for his former employer, the Knights of Columbus. Emails obtained through a FOIA request revealed Lloyd organized a meeting for a Knights of Columbus official to coordinate a federal contract for a Catholic monastery seeking to house refugees.
Additionally, on January 14, 2019, CfA called on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Auditor General Doug Ringler to investigate and terminate Michigan’s contract with the Pennsylvania-based anti-abortion organization, Real Alternatives. CfA’s request for an investigation relied on documents obtained from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, including Real Alternatives’ contracts to operate Michigan’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program. On September 5, 2019, CfA renewed its request to Michigan government officials to investigate and terminate the state’s contract with Real Alternatives. On October 1, 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a line-item veto to terminate state funding for Real Alternatives. As a result, Real Alternatives will no longer receive state funding.
The Themis Project’s Government Records Archive contains documents about a variety of topics regarding the rollback of access to abortion. They include: the Choose Life license plate program; funding for CPCs, including Real Alternatives, Human Coalition, and the Heidi Group; communications between federal officials and anti-abortion extremists; and communications from within the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Agency for International Development regarding the Mexico City Policy rollout and implementation.
CfA invites the public to look through the documents in the Themis Project’s Government Records Archive. Please contact CfA if you have questions or comments regarding the database.
Ms. Huling continued, “For decades, anti-choice organizations have lobbied state legislators and congressional officials to roll back access to abortion. These documents shine a light on how anti-choice leaders are deceiving the public while limiting access to reproductive healthcare. Americans deserve to know how public officials genuflect before their extremist, anti-choice backers.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.