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The Worst Anti-Abortion Misinformers That You Might Never Have Heard Of

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The Worst Anti-Abortion Misinformers That You Might Never Have Heard Of

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Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

What’s an anti-choice extremist to do when the only person willing to give their blatant misinformation a platform is Sean Hannity?

This was the challenge that discredited anti-choice activist and Center for Medical Progress (CMP) founder David Daleiden faced throughout most of 2016 and early 2017. Daleiden is known for his deceptively editedsmear videos attacking Planned Parenthood — and most recently, his 15 felony charges in California.

In a study of 14 months of evening prime-time cable news coverage in 2015 through early 2016, Media Matters identified at least seven appearances by Daleiden on a variety of Fox News programs. Notably, when Media Matters repeated this analysis on 12 months of coverage from March 7, 2016, through March 1, 2017, Daleiden appeared only once as a guest — on Sean Hannity’s eponymous program, Hannity.

Daleiden was not the only anti-choice activist whose number of appearances on the network dropped from 2015 to 2017. In 2015 and early 2016, Lila Rose (president and founder of the anti-choice group Live Action) appeared on Fox News programs 10 times to talk about abortion, while extremist hate group leader Tony Perkins appeared six times. In 2017, with the exception of Daleiden, none of these anti-choice extremists appeared on Fox News.

Although anti-abortion spokespeople did make a few one-off appearances during the 12-month period studied by Media Matters, the sustained focus of their media engagement appears to be shifting. They may not frequently appear on Fox News, but here are some of the leading purveyors of anti-choice misinformation:

Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List

Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of anti-abortion political organization the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List). Although Dannenfelser helms a sizeable political operation dedicated to promoting anti-choice legislators and legislation, her influence further increased after President Donald Trump appointed her to lead his “Pro-Life Coalition.”

Dannenfelser has spearheaded the administration’s anti-choice agenda, supporting the nomination of anti-choice Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the elimination of a rule preventing states from denying Title X family planning funds to abortion providers for non-abortion services, as well as the reinstatement and unprecedented expansion of the Global Gag Rule.

Dannenfelser has increasingly tried to position SBA List as not just a political organization, but also as a self-sustaining media platform for anti-choice misinformation.

In early 2017, Dannenfelser announced a partnership between SBA List and the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) to produce a weekly anti-choice news program, Pro-Life Weekly. Dannenfelser and other representatives from SBA List frequently appear on the program. Most notably, after being convicted of 15 felonies, Daleiden gave exclusive comments to EWTN’s Lauren Ashburn before appearing on that week’s episode of Pro-Life Weekly. During the interview, Daleiden told host Catherine Szeltner that the allegations against him were “political prosecutions” and repeated discredited allegations about Planned Parenthood committing “infanticide.”

Dannenfelser also rejects exceptions to abortion bans for reasons of rape, incest, or medical necessity. In 2015, after the U.S. House passed a 20-week abortion ban, Dannenfelser called the bill’s narrow exemptions for rape and incest survivors “regrettable,” “abominable,” and “completely intellectually dishonest.” Dannenfelser also rejected exemptions for the health of the mother. For example, in 2012, she noted that SBA List would not endorse then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney because he supported health exemptions to abortion bans.

Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life of America

Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America (SFLA), an anti-abortion group targeted at audiences from high school through medical and law school.

SFLA and its representatives commonly make the argument that millennials are the “pro-life generation,” an allegation they support with questionable polling. Polling on abortion and related topics is notoriously difficult to conduct and prone to both intentional and unintentional survey bias. Although the full polling methodologies for SFLA’s data are not available, SFLA has most recently relied on organizations with an anti-choice focus to supply its numbers, including The Knights of Columbus, the Susan B. Anthony List, and presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway’s polling firm.

Beyond running a year-round field program that develops and assists anti-choice campus groups, SFLA also bills itself as a “one-stop shop” for anti-abortion activism by providing specific programs, materials, and trainings to students free of charge. As part of this service, SFLA regularly partners with a number of anti-abortion organizations including Heartbeat International, March for Life, Americans United for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, The Radiance Foundation, and Family Research Council.

Hawkins has also propagated a number of inaccurate and harmful claims about abortion, abortion providers, and reproductive health. Beyond openly calling for abortion to be stigmatized, Hawkins has also comparedher work with that of “slavery abolitionists,” claiming that “there is no difference between fighting against … chattel slavery and fighting ‘to save the pre-born.’” This particular piece of misinformation is frequently promoted by SFLA, which has dedicated a webpage to the myth that Planned Parenthood disproportionately targets black communities with its abortion services.

In a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) training session with then-Rep. Mike Pence (R-IA), Hawkins pushed the medically inaccurate claim that “when you get [an] abortion, you are increasing your risk for breast cancer almost by 50 percent.”

Hawkins has also frequently spread misinformation about the health risks of various contraceptive methods — calling them “carcinogenic” and “abortion-inducing.” In 2011, she published a blog on the conservative outlet American Thinker’s website titled “Government gone wild” in which she criticized the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for including contraceptive coverage. Hawkins wrote, “Labeling harmful birth control chemicals as ‘health care’ is ridiculous.” In 2013, she complained that advertisements for the ACA were designed to appeal to a love of “sex, beer, and more sex” by suggesting that women can “supposedly have all the free sex they want because birth control pills are complimentary.” During a January 2017 appearance on MSNBC’s AM Joy, Hawkins told host Joy Reid that she would advocate for all contraceptives to be illegal.

Hawkins’ extreme beliefs are not limited to abortion and reproductive health. In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center obtained a leaked membership roster for the Council for National Policy (CNP) — “a shadowy and intensely secretive group [that] has operated behind the scenes, providing a venue three times a year for powerful American politicians and others on the right to meet privately to build the conservative movement.” Hawkins’ entry in the CNP roster also listed “Marriage Issues,” “Radical Islam,” “Abstinence / Sex Education,” and “Religious Freedom” as areas of interest.

Ryan Bomberger, The Radiance Foundation

Ryan Bomberger is the co-founder of The Radiance Foundation (TRF) alongside his wife, Bethany. According to Bomberger, The Radiance Foundation is a “faith-based, life-affirming organization to help people understand and embrace their God-given Purpose” through a variety of “creative ad campaigns, powerful multi-media presentations, fearless journalism, and compassionate community outreaches.”

In reality, Bomberger and TRF frequently promote a variety of harmful myths about abortion — including the allegation that abortion providers are agents of “black genocide.” Anti-choice groups and right-wing mediahave long attempted to argue (inaccurately) that higher abortion rates among black women reflect an attempt by Planned Parenthood to explicitly target black communities.

Bomberger initially garnered media attention in 2010 after TRF purchased billboards across the country “that label black children as endangered species and declare black women’s wombs ‘the most dangerous place’ for their children.” The billboards directed viewers to the (still operational) website TooManyAborted.com, which is run by TRF in order to “[raise] the public’s awareness of the eugenic racism of Planned Parenthood and the hugely disproportionate impact on black communities.” According to TRF, “Abortion is the number one killer of black lives in the United States,” and organizations like the NAACP, the Urban League, and the Congressional Black Caucus “have done nothing to address this epidemic.”

In addition to operating TooManyAborted.com, TRF promotes materials that cast skepticism on the severity of police “brutality” in comparison to “abortion brutality” and deny the existence of a pay gap between men and women in the workplace.

TRF has also alleged that abortion disenfranchises men and leads to them abandoning pregnant women — creating a “crisis of fatherlessness.” TRF claims that “abortion has taken the place of fathers” because “men have been empowered by Roe v. Wade to abandon their primary responsibility–protecting.”

Most recently, Bomberger participated in a debate on NPR affiliate WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show against Democratic Maryland Del. Kathleen Dumais. According to Bomberger’s blog post about the exchange, Dumais “had her piles of papers and prepared talking points,” but he “had facts.”

*Graphics by Sarah Wasko

 

 

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33 Comments

  1. PrecipitousDrop May 3, 2017

    If these people ever succeeded, they’d be out of a job and out of the limelight.
    Roe v. Wade is their golden goose.
    Are any of these hucksters really dumb enough to kill it?

    Reply
    1. Amylthompson May 4, 2017

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      Reply
    2. dbtheonly May 4, 2017

      Yes.

      With apologies to our friend, Aaron, fanatics come in all sizes, races, colors and national origins.

      Although I sail into highly dangerous waters, I see some similarities between the anti-abortion movement and the abolitionists of the 1800s.

      Both admit no compromise.
      Both feel America is corrupted by compromise with the “evil”.
      Both feel that any action is justified to fight the “evil”.

      But clearly the internet is not the venue to pursue such a discussion. One could so easily be misunderstood and the venom resulting therefrom would be measured in gallons.

      Reply
      1. PrecipitousDrop May 4, 2017

        Lest you steer your prow io veritable pitched seas of bucking venom, DB, please assure us that you do not compare women seeking health care to former slave owners.
        OK, Big Guy?
        Other than that — yeah — the term “Missionary Zeal” comes to mind.

        Reply
        1. dbtheonly May 4, 2017

          Of course the cause is vital.

          But i was reading some of the abolitionist speeches and seeing the similarities with the anti-abortion movement. Of course it might be conscious copying.

          Reply
        2. Johnny five May 8, 2017

          If you need health care then just maybe you need a job.

          Reply
          1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

            Johnny, you need mental care, but I’m afraid the GOP considers your condition pre-existent. Having a job, a novelty for you, won’t help either.

            Reply
          2. PrecipitousDrop May 9, 2017

            Reading just isn’t your thing, is it?
            Maybe you’re just a bot and ‘health care’ sparked another inane post.

            Reply
          3. Johnny five May 9, 2017

            Another free loader.

            Reply
          4. Johnny five May 9, 2017

            We have a an awesome president: President Donald J. Trump.

            Reply
          5. PrecipitousDrop May 10, 2017

            We?
            Your programmer’s delusions are sadly inept, bot.
            Must be another inferior foreign knockoff.

            Reply
    3. FireBaron May 4, 2017

      PD, these mooks remind me of the old joke about the dumb coyote that chewed off three paws and was still stuck in the trap. Although I am sure most of them would find another “cause” to join. Maybe Jenny McCarthy needs more help spreading her Anti-Vax tripe! That way they can find means to even faster reduce the population explosion they cause by their Anti-Abortion bs.

      Reply
  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 3, 2017

    It’s no surprise that of all the nations in the world, the USA would be the country boasting the most prolific “birth” of decadent and delusional organizations on the planet.
    This is what results when you have Institutions of Religion existing long after their end-time, with a result in decline of the efficacy of Religion as embodied in those Religions which had their genesis over 1200 years ago. Unable to be relevant in a rapidly changing society, and unable to shed light on new social issues which have naturally come about per the requirement of human/social evolution, these Religions as Institutions—NOT THE ESSENCE OF THESE RELIGIONS!—would spawn the likes of various deviant ideologies and thoughts like racism and the extremists in the anti-abortion ranks, in hopes of explaining what they can’t explain.

    As well, the USA is far ahead of any other nation in coming up with the most creative euphemisms for the names of their so-called think-tanks. The names “Center For Medical Progress”, “Live Action”, and “Radiance Foundation” are such lovely innocuous terms masking extremist and dangerous misinformation around the topic of abortion. Since the previous Religions were intended to be silent, or nebulous on the matter at best, the void in such Religious thinking as invited a host of well-meaning kooks to fill the space of unanswered questions and the lack of a clearer perspective on the questions regarding the nature of the human soul, its purpose for appearing in this earthly realm, what is expected of such souls, and what is the general nature of its journey after death.

    These matters are covered to a greater extent now, and a very good outline is provided in what is called “Ruhi Book 1”, which is a Study Guide having sections which provide a partial compendium of Tablets and Epistles on the subject of the Soul and its purpose on earth. Baha’is across the globe, and in most cities in America, conduct Study Groups on the materials contained therein. It sheds much light on an important topic—one that is mostly veiled to most Americans and the cause for the plethora of these lovely sounding groups who would force their own interpretations on the nature of the Soul, whether it be the soul of the living, the embryo in the uterus, or of those who have gone through the “door” of death, into the next Realm.

    Just saying.

    Reply
    1. Johnny five May 8, 2017

      So you came from a monkey. That figures.

      Reply
      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

        Your post is the remark of a consummate simpleton—no redeeming features whatsoever, and NO sign of any real intelligence. I’m afraid that the Alt-Right is just the place you would fit in perfectly,

        “Johnny five”. Is the “five” your height in inches?

        Reply
        1. Johnny five May 8, 2017

          So sad that you are so unhappy and depressed.

          Reply
          1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 9, 2017

            I don’t think you’re capable of being sad, except when you miss a meal. But I’m sadder to see you waste your life at a point when the “winter” of your life on earth is setting in, Johnny.
            To see a grown man posting childish prattle as you do is a lamentable sight.

            Reply
          2. Johnny five May 9, 2017

            As I had said , you need professional help.

            Reply
      2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

        And one other question, Johnny—From whom did you come from??

        All of us humans are created by God. Are you of us, or are you some creature spawned in an “ALT-RIGHT” lab??

        Reply
        1. Johnny five May 8, 2017

          That is too stupid for me to answer.

          Reply
      3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

        Sorry, Johnny, but he enormity of your ignorance still has me mystified. I’m just not accustomed to reading such an ignorant post as yours. It’s important that I point out to you that you’re profoundly ignorant of the sciences.
        So, here’s a challenge to you and your fellow deviants on the issue of what it means to be a human being, spiritually and biologically. I dare you to provide a DNA sample to National Geographic’s initiative, the “National Genographic Project”.
        If you’re not a coward, and I assume you have a job, you can order the kit, swab the inside of your mouth below your cheeks, and mail the sample back to their lab for DNA analysis. The results will show both your paternal and maternal lineage, and you won’t be happy when you find out where the ancient origins of both sides of your family are from.

        Go ahead—I dare you!!

        Reply
  3. FireBaron May 4, 2017

    And not one of these shites does a damn thing to support adoption, nor do they support increased access to prenatal care, nor do they support early childhood development programs, nor do they support childhood nutrition programs.
    They can call themselves “Anti-Abortion” all they want, but given that they only care about the kid being born and could care less after it leaves the delivery room, they sure as Hell cannot call themselves “Pro-Life”!

    Reply
    1. latebloomingrandma May 4, 2017

      Witness how many are against the ACA.

      Reply
  4. latebloomingrandma May 4, 2017

    I live in an area where all roads lead to the evils of abortion. I had an argument with someone who doubted that Obama was sincere in his grief over the Sandy Hook killings in which 20 innocent children were riddled by bullets. Not possible, because, you know, he supports “infanticide”. No matter how vile Trump is, or the fact that he wanted wife #2 to have an abortion, he won our county by wide margins solely because he stated he is pro-life. This whole subject is ugly and full of hate and the anti-abortion side has lost all reasoning power. Oh, and Hillary lost because she kills babies and is a liar and a drunk.

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

      The depth of despair, ignorance, and the simple-minded responses regarding abortion show a complete absence of knowledge of the meaning and purpose of life. Nothing short of a blinding flash of insight can cure the ignorance, and erase the blind fury of the hate for Hillary, which afflicts the person you cited.

      Reply
  5. Dapper Dan May 4, 2017

    So much for the Supreme Court settling this matter once and for all in 1973. To those advocating abolishing abortion all you’ll be doing is driving it back underground. More women trying to end a pregnancy may also lose their lives to a hack abortionist in unsterile environment. Of course the attitude will be she deserves to die if she’s willing to end a life. That is very cruel thing to say when we don’t know her circumstances at all. I promise you women with money won’t have trouble terminating a pregnancy but poor women lose. How reprehensible ????

    Reply
    1. Johnny five May 8, 2017

      The best way to prevent pregnancy is to keep your legs closed.

      Reply
      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 8, 2017

        I have a suggestion for you, Johnny—The best way not to expose the depths of your ignorance and simple-mindedness is to keep your mouth closed and close your email account.

        Reply
        1. Johnny five May 8, 2017

          Keep talking stupid.

          Reply
      2. Dapper Dan May 8, 2017

        So your wife knows when to say not tonight I’ve got a headache ????

        Reply
        1. Johnny five May 8, 2017

          She knew that having a baby took first place over all other. Not being selfish and destroying the child as you .

          Reply
          1. Dapper Dan May 9, 2017

            And when did I say I was destroying a child ? Some lawmakers see themselves as the defenders of life by essentially forcing women to carry a pregnancy to term. But once a woman bears that child where is the support system to help take care of them ? Already we see efforts being made to rip away healthcare for all a plan that can help pay for prenatal care. Education is the key to reducing unwanted pregnancies and under President Obama we actually did see a reduction in abortions. If you don’t trust a woman to terminate an unplanned pregnancy how can you trust her to raise that child in what will likely not be in a loving home ?

            Reply
  6. dpaano May 8, 2017

    Just another bunch of RW idiots! I bet if one of their daughters got pregnant out of wedlock, they’d be looking for an abortion so quick…..

    Reply

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