sobermoney divest2

Bogus Anti-Abortion Science: Christianity's Big Tobacco

First Big Tobacco, then climate change denial, and now, the anti-choice movement.

The issues might have changed, but the techniques now widely used by big government cultural fascism Republicans to distort science and, with it, public policy, remain the same.

Here is their scam: They create nonprofits, staffed with die-hard ideologues, and set about producing and promoting bogus science, to build the illusion of dissent or doubt over conclusions drawn by peer-reviewed scientific or medical research. They develop their own “research findings” to suit their ideological views. Then they deploy scare tactics, all with the goal of passing laws that suit their agenda.

In this case, the agenda is to promote the theory that abortion harms women’s health—physically and mentally. It’s a strategy anti-choice activists have been working on for decades, but in recent years, sympathetic state attorneys general have been increasingly relying on a cadre of bogus experts who will defend and promote anti-choice laws.

RH Reality Check has detailed the various organizations and individuals involved in what might best be called the anti-choice “False Witness” industry. They reviewed scores of public records from state attorneys general and health departments, interviews of officials and legitimate researchers, and a close examination of both the tax filings and the scholarly works of these organizations and individuals.

The investigation reveals the close connections between many of the ostensibly independent “research” groups that feature prominently in the anti-choice movement. Several groups, such as the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the Reproductive Research Audit, and the World Expert Consortium for Abortion Research and Education, share many of the same officers and experts.

The work details how the scientific and medical claims of these groups and individuals have been publicly discredited in episodes ranging from lying to the public, presenting false data in scientific journals, and being forced to retract articles that proved to be works of fiction presented as fact. Other doctors and professors catalogued in this gallery carry impressive credentials, appear to be apt in their fields, and are technically qualified to testify on reproductive-health issues. However, fueled by their religious or political beliefs (or both), many of these professionals have testified in support of unproven or discredited theories.

The research also shows that, despite the documented problems with these “experts,” states have paid members of this group nearly $658,000 dollars since 2010 for testimony in both legislative and court hearings—paving the way for laws, policies, and legal opinions that are buttressed by “facts” that are “truthy” at best, or explicitly false at worst. That number is likely the tip of the iceberg, since it is based only information from states that complied with our records requests.

The impact of these False Witnesses has been wide-reaching: According to Aziza Ahmed, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law, who has studied the use of evidence in abortion litigation, courts are now accepting as fact what were once recognized as shoddy, “fringe” notions.

“The courts are acting politically and you’ll see that they’re doing a lot of work to legitimize what they call ‘conservative evidence,’” Ahmed said. She said this has put progressives in a “quagmire” of disputing unscientific claims—a debate that simply sows more doubt in the public’s mind. “The only way to deal with that is to acknowledge the politics of the courts and how the courts in today’s very anti-choice environment are making it possible for conservative ‘scientific’ arguments to have so much legitimacy.”

RH Reality Check’s research has identified 14 people who have played an outsized role in creating and spreading key falsehoods about abortion. We have found that they are affiliated with a small number of key groups that give these bogus notions an official gloss but which are little more than vehicles for manufacturing doubt.

WECARE, Founded by Another Discredited Researcher

WECARE was founded in June 2011 by Priscilla K. Coleman, a professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, to further the idea that abortion harms women. In addition to publishing questionable research and analysis, WECARE advertises ideologically driven scholars and professors to testify against abortion rights during legislative hearings or in the courts.

Coleman, who has a PhD in life-span developmental psychology from West Virginia University, has dedicated her career to establishing a causal  and fabricated relationship between abortion and mental illness. She is one of the small number of individuals whose incessant and unscientific claims have contributed to state laws that repeat that falsehood as a legislative “finding.”

In recent years, Coleman has testified in Alaska, Ohio, South Dakota, and even before the U.S. Congress, our research has found. Records obtained from these states show that she has earned a minimum of $10,875 for her work in North Dakota alone.

In February 2013 Alaska state Sen. John Coghill (R-Fairbanks), invited Coleman to testify in support of a bill he sponsored that would have eliminated the use of state Medicaid funding for abortions deemed medically necessary due to mental illness.

Arrogantly, she is quoted as saying: “I am of the opinion that abortion is never justified based on mental health grounds and abortion should not be paid for by the state of Alaska due to the presence of any form of mental illness in women,” as reported by the Anchorage Daily News; she was armed with citations from her large body of research, which she claimed documents “the association between abortion and declining mental health status.”

The problem with the lies over Coleman’s supporting research was that most of it was her own work, which had been thoroughly and embarrassingly debunked back in 2009.

The article in question appeared in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Researchand was co-authored by Catherine T. Coyle, Martha W. Shuping, and Vincent M. Rue (another member of our False Witnesses gallery.)

The study purported to analyze the relationship between induced abortions and a range of diagnosed mental health disorders using data from the National Comorbidity Survey for the years 1990 through 1992. Coleman’s team concluded that women who had reported having one or more abortions were likelier than those who had not reported having abortions to have been diagnosed with panic disorders and attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, bipolar disorder, mania, depression, and a dependence on alcohol and drugs.

Coleman’s study has been referenced by states’ attorneys to defend various state laws requiring doctors to tell women that abortion increases their risk to mental disorders. Among those is a2005 South Dakota law that forced doctors to to tell women an abortion will put them at risk for depression or suicide—even though this alleged connection is at odds with the medical consensus on this issue. Coleman was also widely cited in a South Dakota legislative task force report that helped to inform that law.

Other researchers quickly pounced on major problems with Coleman’s article, and even Alan F. Schatzberg, a Stanford University psychiatry professor who edits the journal, along with Harvard Medical School professor Ronald C. Kessler, determined that Coleman’s analysis did not support her “assertions that abortion led to psychopathology in the NCS data.” Yet, for reasons it has declined to state, the journal did not retract Coleman’s article, a fact she repeats in defense of her otherwise eviscerated work.

Despite this professional disgrace, Coleman is regularly called as an expert witness to testify about abortion-related policies, and has done so on the taxpayer’s dime. Between November 2013 and February 2014, the state of North Dakota paid Coleman more than $10,000 for expert testimony for abortion litigation, according to records RH Reality Check obtained through a public records request. The state has been embroiled in litigation related to a series of anti-abortion bills since 2011.

And Coleman is not alone. Since founding WECARE in mid-2011, she has fortified relationships with other anti-choice researchers who have also been caught playing fast and loose with science, or outright lying, and yet who continue to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars to jet around the country, peddling their falsehoods in state houses and courtrooms.

Other WECARE affiliates include: Dr. Byron C. Calhounwho has lied about the rates of abortion-related injuries in West VirginiaDr. Elard S. Koch, whose attempts to disprove well-established links between lack of access to safe abortion care and higher rates of maternal death and illness have been challenged by a federal judgeDr. Monique Chireau, an assistant professor of obstetrics-gynecology at Duke University, who promotes abstinence-only sex education; Dr. Martha Shuping, who has co-authored discredited research with Priscilla Coleman; and Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, who promotes the unfounded theory that abortion causes breast cancer.

Nearly all are members of the False Witnesses gallery and more information about them can be found in their individual profiles.

Two other groups that—like WECARE—supply lawmakers and reporters with medical professionals who hold minority views on abortion, are the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), an organization of approximately 2,500 obstetrician-gynecologists who oppose abortion rights (by contrast, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has approximately 57,000 members) and the Molecular Epidemiology in Life Sciences Accountability (MELISA) Institute in Concepción, Chile, which bills itself as a “private non-profit institution for advanced biomedical research.”

AAPLOG houses three False Witnesses: Executive Director Donna Harrison, who frequently claims that emergency contraception is abortion, and at-large board members Calhoun and Chireau.

Elard Koch founded and directs the MELISA Institute, which also houses three False Witnesses:CalhounChireau, and Dr. John Thorp, a North Carolina-based obstetrician-gynecologist who serially testifies in court unfounded assumptions that problems from abortion are likely grossly under-reported. Thorp’s expert witness reports have also been influenced by anti-choice activistVincent Rue.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute and Reproductive Research Audit

Whereas WECARE exists to lend credibility to the minority viewpoint that there is a significant, direct correlation between induced abortion and mental health disorders, the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Reproductive Research Audit exist to throw doubt on the majority viewpoint that abortion is a safe procedure that does not present physical and mental risks at a significantly higher rate than other procedures or life events.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute is the “education and research arm” of the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, a Beltway nonprofit that focuses on electing anti-choice politicians to Congress. The SBA List has been around since the early 1990s, but the Charlotte Lozier Institute was only founded in 2011—in an attempt by the anti-choice movement to rival the widely respected Guttmacher Institute as a trusted source of abortion-related research. It boasts as members several of the same people who work with Priscilla Coleman.

Though it masquerades as a research institute, the Charlotte Lozier Institute has so far produced little in the way of original research and data-gathering and has instead published more commentaries and analyses of others’ research that support its agenda on abortion and end-of-life issues. The group has also called for more standardized and robust reporting of abortion statistics by state health departments—under the guise of better understanding the risks of abortion. Yet, all the while, its parent organization, the SBA List, works every day to criminalize abortion. The Charlotte Lozier Institute reported spending $11,411 in 2012 seeking out academic and policy experts to provide oral and written testimony in favor of policies that restrict access to legal abortion, and boasts several False Witnesses members as “associate scholars.”

These include Calhoun, as well as Jacqueline C. Harvey, “a scholar of public policy and bioethics” with a PhD in public administration and public policy, and Michael J. New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michael-Dearborn, who has a PhD in political science and a master’s degree in statistics. According to their Twitter updates, New and Harvey appear to be involved romantically.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute files with the Internal Revenue Service as the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund. The Fund’s public tax filings show that it is far from a true research institute, but is instead a political organization aligned with the Republican Party and intended to argue against reproductive rights.

Charles A. Donovan serves as president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. He’s worked in the Beltway for decades for a variety of national conservative and religious right organizations, including the National Right to Life Committee, the Family Research Council, and the Heritage Foundation. He currently sits on the board of directors of the Family Research Council and Heartbeat International, a crisis pregnancy center network based in Columbus, Ohio.

In 2012, the group reported spending approximately $688,000 on the “Free Speech Project” it launched in 2010, donating most of that money to the James Madison Center for Free Speech in Terre Haute, Indiana, and the ActRight Legal Foundation in Plainfield, Indiana.

The James Madison Center is associated with James Bopp, Jr., who is involved with the infamous Citizens United case. Bopp was previously counsel for ActRight, an umbrella organization intended to help fund Republicans’ political campaigns, created by officers of the National Organization for Marriage, a national nonprofit that since 2007 has been campaigning against marriage rights for gay men and lesbians in the United States and abroad.

Charlotte Lozier also reported spending more than $46,000 collecting data on abortion and on collecting state and county-level data “to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing and other communications strategies to increase patient traffic to care centers,” referring to so-called crisis pregnancy centers designed to dissuade women from having abortions. The group reported spending approximately $44,000 on focus-group and polling research in 2012, exploring among other things “public attitudes toward the legal permissibility of abortions performed for the person [sic] of destroying an unborn child of a particular sex.”

Reproductive Research Audit (RRA) is a project of the Center for Morality in Public Life, a nonprofit based in Fairfax, Virginia, and founded in 2010, whose stated purpose is “to integrate good ethics with daily living.” Two of RRA’s regular contributors are Harvey and New, who are also affiliated with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

RRA’s stated mission is “to shine a light on the methodology of scientific studies on reproductive health issues, exposing their bias, flaws and propensity to ignore data that does not support a pre-determined political agenda. Too often, such articles, rife with error, are cited as legitimate research, and are used to further efforts in favor of increased access to abortion and contraception.”

As with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, RRA works to undermine research that supports abortion rights policies, particularly research produced by the Guttmacher Institute. But in some cases, RRA’s research critiques misrepresent the study or analysis in question. And in other cases, RRA contributors completely distort the research they are purporting to “audit.”

For example, we have documented an instance where RRA’s Harvey tried to debunk a Guttmacher study, which documented the lengthy distances women traveled to access abortion services in 2008. Harvey inadvertently distorted the study, because she had not actually read it, but rather made assumptions based on the abstract alone.

“I regret that I worked from an incomplete source when a complete source was available and for the subsequent errors that caused,” wrote Harvey in a Reproductive Research Audit article dated July 31, 2013, in which she attempted to correct errors she had made in a critique of a Guttmacher Institute study after admitting to not having read the Guttmacher study.

Yet Harvey, like her fellow False Witnesses, continues to publish work that has an impact not only on the public debate, but on the constitutional rights of millions of Americans who wish to exercise control over their own reproductive health and future.

Sofia Resnick, Investigative Reporter and Sharona Coutts, Vice President, Investigations and Research, www.RHRealityCheck.org

What "Pro-Life" Really Means: Hypocrisy

The pro-lifers probably mean well, but they are in fact life-affirming hypocrites.

First, it should be stated that no one in their right mind would want an abortion just because it is legal. And no one should want an abortion because it provides for an easy way out of a "social activity" mistake, irresponsible sexual attitudes, or because a woman or couple changes her/their mind about wanting to give birth to a child.

That said, it is also not the right of anyone - especially those who call themselves "pro-life" - to legislate away the legal right of a "responsible" abortion (yes, they do exist), responsible access and use of contraception & birth control, and funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood that prevent unwanted pregnancies and promote responsible parenthood through a plethora of educational efforts, including abstinence education.

Unfortunately, so much of the Pro-life movement is has become simply a personal repression effort for "no sex without marriage and only between a man and a woman."

Moreover, let it be stated that pro-lifers can be rightly in favor of the life of the unborn. And pro-lifers say they will do anything for the unborn.

In reality, though, the pro-life movement, usually being out of the evangelical Republican mindset, does not want to take any financial responsibility for the unwanted children they force on a parent or parents (and society) once a fetus becomes a born child. Let me state this fact once again: Pro-life evangelicals are more often neoRepublican extremists who do not want to pay taxes to provide for orphans, the poor, the disenfranchised, the rights of women to make responsible decisions, or any population of Americans who do not fit their rigid belief system.

More succinctly, pro-lifers are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months or birth. After that, they don't care what happens to the newborn. They don't want to hear about it. And they certainly don't want to be responsible economically for its welfare. Some so-called pro-lifers even think any form of contraception is "murder."

Taxes: Pro-lifers, who for the most part are right wing, anti-government evangelicals, simply don't want to pay the taxes needed to provide neonatal care, day care, Head Start, free school lunchs, food stamps, single mother welfare - in effect nothing that is needed to pay for the services that their anti-abortion actions are creating. As far as the pro-lifers are concerned, if single mothers with a child needs help so the mother can work to responsibly care for the child, too bad. Let the born child live in poverty - or worse, starve.

In other words, if something involves paying taxes or taking almost any other form of economic responsibility, an unwanted baby is no longer the pro-lifers' problemIf you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're on your own.

Contraception: The most hypocritical logic of the pro-lifers is they don't want government or corporate health care plans to pay for or even provide contraception, the primary product and behavior needed to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and thus abortions. Apparently it is against their religious beliefs to have sex outside of marriage; sex is ONLY for procreation. In other words, one should not have passion, or "lust" as the evangelicals call it - even in a monogamous relationship, especially if it is without childhood committment.

Fine, if that is everyone's very personal choice. But it is not. And most teenagers, responsible young adults and mature women are not wired for such rigid religious beliefs, making abstainance only "contraception" a very risky and irresponsible solution.

Besides, how great can abstainance be if the modeling behavior young adults see from their evangelical pro-life elders is so hypocritical: 1) Catholic priests sexually abusing children, 2) evangelical ministers having sex with married parishioners, and 3) Republican "family values" politicians having affairs with staff women and sex with prostitutes, or having gay sex in bathrooms at airports? These are not great examples of role modeling for evangelical abstainance. 

Soldiers: Pro-lifers do eventually care about all born children again - when they reach military age. Then they think our children are patriots and heroes when they can send them to die in US corporate and crusade-like religious wars. Pro-lifers will easily send them off to fight Christian capitalism wars against heathen enemies - who for some strange reason has "our oil under their sand."

As the late comedian George Carlin sardonically jokes: "It appears right wingers want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers."

Murder as Pro-life If these people are pro-life, why do they kill doctors and physically threaten medical professionals and pregnant women at Planned Parenthood facilities? What kind of pro-life is that? They say they’ll do anything they can to save a fetus; but if it grows up to be an abortion doctor, nurse or Planned Parenthood provider, they might have to kill.

They are not pro-life. They're anti-woman. They don't like women. Women are second class citizens.

Pro-lifers deep down must believe a woman's primary role is to function as a brood mare for their husbands - or in the case of right wing big government mandatory sonogram laws - broodmares for the state.  

Perplexingly and sadly, pro-life (mostly Republican) women, or Adam’s rib voters (as we call them at SoberMoney), go along with these right wing anti-women regulatory schemes that the mostly white male bully politicians impose on women. 

Adoptions? If the pro-lifers are so pro-life, why don't see many white anti-abortion Adam’s rib women volunteering to adopt unwanted ghetto babies from drug addicted mothers? Apparently that might be something Jesus Christ would do.

Is a fetus a human being? 

If a fetus is a human being, how come the government census doesn't count a fetus as part of the population?

If a fetus is a human being, how come when there's a miscarriage the pro-lifers don't have a funeral, where they pay the mortician thousands of dollars to handle and honor the unborn fetus?

And if a fetus is a human being, how come people say "we have two children and one on the way" - instead of saying "we have three children?"

Pro-lifers say life begins at conception. So let’s look at these anti-abortion arguments.

The really hardcore pro-lifers will tell you life begins at fertilization. Fertilization is when the sperm fertilizes the egg. But even after the egg is fertilized, it's still six or seven days before it reaches the uterus and pregnancy begins, and very few fertilized eggs makes it that far. Thus, eighty percent of a woman's fertilized eggs are naturally rinsed and flushed out of her body once a month during her menstrual cycle. These are fertilized eggs, life that began at conception.

So, what the pro-lifers are telling us is that any woman who's had a menstrual cycle during or after sex is a serial killer?

Consistent Rhetoric Catholics and the pro-life Christians are against abortions; but they're also against LGBT citizens. The LGBT community is an entire class of people almost guaranteed never to have an abortion! Yet the Catholics and Christians just toss them aside as sub-human. Evangelical hypocrisy!

And while looking for consistency in religion, most of these Cardinals, Bishops and pro-life male politicians have never experienced pregnancy, or labor pains - and they've probably never raised children on minimum wage or unemployed or had to work without childcare.

When most of these pro-lifers have experienced these life situaltions, we will all be glad to hear what they have to say about abortion.

And finally, where was the outrage of the pro-lifers while the evangelical George W. Bush and their hated Barack Obama was leading the US military - killing thousands of Arab mothers and children during the bombings of Iraq and Afghanistan wars?

And what about the hundreds of Gazan children killed during each Israeli invasion, with the blessing of the evangelical pro-life Republicans? Where were the pro-lifers then?

"The only human trait more damaging than ignorance is hypocrisy."

Abortions May Kill Fetuses; Christian Guns and War Kill live Children

* NO ONE likes abortions. But no government, politicians or citizen has the God-only authority to force a woman to make reproductive decisions that do not come from her own freedom of choice, including her family, doctors, and clergy.

In the evangelical right wing states of the United States, the primarily Republican Party leadership is obsessed with installing big governent anti-abortion legislation designed to humilate women into letting these misguided "Christian" politicians control their reproductive rights - overriding the family planning choices of women, their spouses or mates, their doctors, and their clergy. It is largely disrespectful of our democratic values and it treats women like  broodmares for the state. 

At SoberMoney, we call these US Republican run mysogynist states the "GyneColonies."

As stated above, these "gynecolonies" are mostly evangelical right wing governments, where even their "Adam's Rib" female voters of these states encourage big government laws that take away their own individual rights. Sadly, these mostly subservient voting women - the Adam's rib voters - blindly vote against their own individual gender freedom and rights. 

in what simply bad for America, the evangelical right wing politicians - and their voters - in these gynecolonies want all Americans to be like them: primarily white, certainly male-subservient, and promoters of big government when it suits their moral compass - which is generally evangelical, heterosexual, anti-immigrant, and addicted to money and profit.

Moreover, the GyneColony's big government right wing legislation in these state are at the heart of attacking women's rights, worker rights, minority rights, voter rights, the environment, individual free choice, and almost everything else that doesn't fit into their vision of America.

The evangelical leaders of the gynocolonies truly believe the superiority of their value system, which makes them extremely dangerous for American democracy. They seem to have a sometimes violent disdain for anything that is different from what they believe in.

SoberMoney believes this abberrant political mindset is based on a rigid and antiquated white evangelical social contract - combined with a misguided neoRepublican Party nationalism - reminiscent of the old Civil War Confederacy. They quietly condone killing doctors that provide abortion services to women - and they do not hesitate to limit freedom of choice whenever it suits their American Taliban religious beliefs.

Hence, these states continually attempt to pass big government legislation forcing 1) mandatory sonograms on women, 2) heterosexual only marriage laws, 3) mandatory photo voting I.D. for citizens who would generally vote against the racial and economic philosophy of the neoRepublican Party. In other words, socially repressive laws that are homophobic, xenophobic, covert with racism, and disrespectful of the intelligence and moral compass of women.

Big Government Hypocricy, Not "Conservatives"

More directly, these self-righteous Republican overlords proclaim to be "small government" conservatives, especially when it comes to economic deregulation efforts that pollute our water and our food. Yet they have absolutely no problem using big government legislation to repress the free choice of women, voters, and other people whose behavior, lifestyle and choices they don't like.

In reality, they are not "conservative" at all. They are politically misquided power addicts who use a distorted interpretation of Christianity as their political tool.

The GyneColony Leaders Only Understand Power and Money

Do everything we can to hinder and/or cut off their money supply.  

One way to intervene in the political power addiction in the gynecolony states is, whenever possible, boycott travel to - and doing business with the companies - domiciled in these US states. These states are the real "Duck Dynasties" that require our "economic intervention activism" - such as 1) travel boycotts to these states and 2) consumer boycotts and investor divestment the largestbbusinesses domiciled in these GyneColony states.

1. GyneColony states (the politicians in these states treat women like government broodmares - disrespecting a women's freedom) are:

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Louisiana
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
South Carolina
South Dakota
Texas
Utah
Virginia

West Virginia
Wisconsin

* To research the names of businesses and publicly-traded companies in each of the GyneColont states - so you can initiate consumer boycotts and divestment actions, go to http://www.crmz.com/directory/CountryUS.htm and click on the GyneColony state to which you want to identify your economic activist power.

 

Unknown-1

IPS-50-logo

as-you-sow

logolg 58328

climate counts logo

yes news logo 160 151

Unknown-2

logo-2

aclu

naca

informed comment

ddd

peaceful

flyerstiff

dn-logo-url

salon

etan-aluta4a

bds

Corp

Realitycheck

healthcare

inside climate

Food Babe logo

newglw logo

the intercept

SAlogo WebsiteHeader JoinFerguson