Frazier Glenn Miller & The Ongoing Trend of Former-Military Neo-Nazi Murders

Military Veterans and the White Separatist Underground’s Cult of Violence

image via Mike Fox and NBC News

image via Mike Fox and NBC News

The recent murders at two Jewish institutions in Kansas City—apparently committed by former Nazi and Klansman Frazier Glenn Miller—unfortunately come as little surprise, as it was at least the third such incident in the United States in the last five years alone. In 2012, Nazi skinhead Michael Wade Page murdered six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and in 2009 Holocaust denier James Von Brunn murdered a guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

All three perpetrators fit a very specific pattern: military veterans; involved in White nationalist politics for years; felt (apparently) their lives were at an end; decided to go out and murder unsuspecting civilians at the very public institutions which their politics had always targeted.

Miller is 73 and has emphysema. Von Brunn was 88 and died soon after the shooting. Wade was only 40, but committed suicide rather than surrender at the murder scene.

Unfortunately, this trend looks like it will continue into the future. Each of these men were products of a political environment that praised violence and glorified death. And so it seems safe to assume that as long as the violence-driven White separatist and White supremacist political underground remains, at least some of their activists can be expected to end their lives in such a manner in the future.

Frazier Glenn Miller

The ideology of White supremacy that Miller embraced has historically been intertwined with the use of institutional violence, from the genocide of Native Americans and American slavery to the lynchings of African-Americans. The Ku Klux Klan, often aided by local police, resisted the Civil Rights Movement with intimidation and murder. But even after the battle to defend segregation was lost and most Southern police agencies distanced themselves from the Klan, White separatist and supremacist groups have continued the open use of violence—only now without institutional backing—against religious, racial, and sexual minorities.

In recent decades, White nationalists moved from being pro-government, patriotic Americans—in the 1940s, one could support Jim Crow segregation at home and still fight the Nazis abroad—to being anti-system, right-wing revolutionaries. Bolstered by the Nazi skinhead subculture that exploded in the 1980s, this change from pro- to anti-system helped foster an ongoing culture of extreme violence. For such a small political movement, its members commit a fantastic number of violent criminal acts, which have included political assassinations, murders in public and domestic settings, and bombings which seek to inflict mass casualties. All of this is a microcosm of the violence praised by the historic fascist movement and its philosophical valorization of the “act”—as well as its practice of “total war” and racial genocide.

Miller played a central role in this shift towards revolutionary Far Right militancy. Originally a member of the White nationalist National States Rights Party, he later joined the neo-Nazi National Socialist Party of America, with whom he took part in the Greensboro Massacre of five left-wing, anti-racist protestors. He then formed the Carolina Ku Klux Klan, which morphed into the White Patriot Party (WPP), described by Leonard Zeskind as a “hybrid organization [which] grafted uniformed paramilitarism and Naziesque ideology onto its roots as a white-robed Klan group.”* This was part of what is called the “Nazification of the Klan,” when Nazi and Klan groups overcame historical divisions and grew closer in ideology and collaboration.

Miller has described himself as “ultra Right plus a million miles.” His party’s platform was “Southern independence. The creation of an all-White nation within the one million square miles of mother Dixie. We have no hope for Jew York City or San Fran-cissy-co and other areas that are dominated by Jews, perverts, and communists and non-White-minorities and rectum-loving queens.” The group’s prerecorded phone messages included “the simulated voice of a black man being lynched.” This approach proved quite popular: by 1985, Miller claimed the WPP had 2,500 members, and they held public marches with hundreds of members dressed in camouflage uniforms and black berets. In 1984, Miller ran for North Carolina governor and received 5,000 votes.**

A member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, Miller retired from the military in 1979, but used his military background to recruit soldiers and accumulate an arsenal that included anti-tank rockets. He received $200,000 from the underground White nationalist terror group The Order (Brüder Schweigen), and was involved in a plot to kill Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center. (Meanwhile, former members of the WPP were arrested in a triple murder in a gay bookstore in 1987.)

That same year, Miller was arrested, fled underground, and issued a “Declaration of War” against the federal government. Caught shortly thereafter with a cache of weapons, he flipped, testifying against his fellow White nationalists in the Fort Smith sedition trial. Released after serving three years in prison, he kept a relatively low profile until recently, as he had been shunned by his former colleagues as a snitch. But apparently his political views had not changed. After his arrest in Kansas City, Miller yelled “Heil Hitler!” at a television crew from the back of a police car. Although we don’t know his motives yet, he seems to have surrendered peacefully and knows he’ll probably serve the rest of his life in prison.

James Von Brunn

A Navy veteran, Von Brunn had links to antisemitic groups going back to the 1970s, and was connected to various figures in the White nationalist movement. In 1981, he brought a shotgun into a Federal Reserve meeting, hoping to kidnap board members and read a televised speech; he served eight years in jail for the crime, though he blamed the “negro jury” and “Jew judge” for the sentence. Telling his ex-wife he was planning to go out “with his boots on,” in June of 2009 Von Brunn went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and murdered a guard. Wounded at the scene, Von Brunn died of natural causes six months later.

Michael Wade Page

Page served in the Army in the 1990s before being discharged for “patterns of misconduct” (alcoholism). He was somewhat unusual in that he apparently became involved in Nazi skinhead activities not as a teenager, but rather when he was almost 30. A “patched-in” member of the Hammerskins—an international racist skinhead organization whose reputation for violence is notable even among skinheads—he played in racist bands before life turned sour as the 40 year old as he lost his job, his girlfriend left him, and his house was foreclosed on.

In 2012, he opened fire at a Sikh temple and murdered six unarmed worshippers before he was killed by a police officer during a gun battle.

And there are many others who fit the profile a little less precisely. For example, former Marine J.T. Ready was an anti-immigrant activist who formed two armed vigilante border patrol groups in Arizona. A recent member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, in 2012 he murdered four people in what was apparently a domestic dispute and then killed himself.

The military background of each of these men is unsettling, as it provides weapons training and sometimes combat experience. Veterans are known to suffer from high rates of domestic violence, suicide, and mental health problems. But veterans come in all political stripes, and it’s the simmering violence in the White separatist and supremacist milieu that’s clearly the spark.

Action Over Thought – More To Come

The Nazi and Klan political environments cultivate a cult of the warrior, often draped in Viking imagery which praises soldiers who go to Valhalla. It promotes action over thought, and a deeply patriarchal mindset that attacks Jews and non-Europeans and accuses them of weakness, disease, and of diluting a strong White identity.

Having spent years immersed in these narratives, and facing the end of their lives, some longtime militant Far Right activists are choosing violent ends—even if their supposed warrior deaths turn out to be cowardly assassinations. They seek soft targets and murder unsuspecting—and usually unarmed—civilians.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of Millers, Von Brunns, and Pages. In recent years, the White separatist violence of past decades has simmered down. Klan groups are declining, as the less-explicitly-bigoted Patriot movement is in ascendance. The skinhead culture has lost its youthful cache, and most of the prominent Nazi skinhead groups have collapsed. But the ultra-violent culture these men thrived in during their prime still retains its mental hold on thousands of aging, troubled men. We should brace ourselves for more of them to take the same path out when they decide their lives are at an end.

However, one thing that could be done to lessen these scenarios would be to support the work of “transitioning out” programs, which help neo-Nazi and similar activists escape the political scene they often are trapped in. Those wishing to exit are often threatened by their colleagues, and need help removing White supremacist tattoos, finding jobs, moving themselves and their families to safe locations, and establishing new social networks. The lack of availability of these programs often leads disenchanted militant Far Rightists back into their established social and political networks, which—in the cases looked at here—can have tragic results for both themselves, their families, and their victims. Groups like One People’s Project (onepeoplesproject.com) and Life After Hate (lifeafterhate.org) are open to help those wishing to exit these politics and start new lives.

* Leonard Zeskind, Blood and Politics (New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009), 131.
** Cited in James Ridgeway, Blood in the Face, second edition (NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1995), 118–19.

Related:

SPLC has published several phone calls between the head of their Intelligence Project, Heidi Beirich, and Frazier Glenn Miller. You can see all of them here.

Dr. Ben Carson, the Right’s Latest Great Black Hope

Dr. Ben Carson, speaking at the 2013 Values Voters Summit

Dr. Ben Carson, speaking at the 2013 Values Voters Summit

In 2004, then-Senator Barack Obama burst onto the national political scene with his stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention. Since then, the GOP has been in search of a “Great Black Hope” to counter Obama’s supposed racial appeal to Black voters. From Alan Keyes to Herman Cain, various Black candidates have been floated in hopes that they held the keys to a GOP victory among Black voters (and promptly shunted to the side once they prove otherwise).

The latest in this parade of short-lived political celebrities is Dr. Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and former head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Carson’s celebrity status has been on the rise since he lambasted the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) in front of President Obama at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. Since then, Carson has become a sought-after speaker on the conservative political circuit, including the 2013 Values Voters Summit, and both the 2013 and 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convenings. Carson received a warm welcome at CPAC 2014, where he delivered a well-attended and well-received speech, landing him in third place in CPAC’s straw poll of possible 2016 presidential candidates. (Carson received 11% of the CPAC vote,  just shy of Ted Cruz’s also 11% second-place finish and well behind winner Rand Paul’s 31%. Carson received 4% of the straw poll vote at CPAC 2013).

Part of Carson’s appeal is his validation of the GOP base through the use of fear-mongering and persecution fantasies validates the GOP base At CPAC 2014, Carson took the opportunity to revisit his controversial comments at Values Voters 2013, where he declared the Affordable Care Act:

The worst thing to happen in this nation since slavery… It is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about healthcare. It was about control.

Carson’s CPAC 2014 speech mocked the “PC police” for allegedly misrepresenting his remarks at Values Voters, as well as his March 2013 comments which implicitly equated being gay with pedophilia and bestiality (The comments touched off a media firestorm that culminated in Carson withdrawing as commencement speaker at the Johns Hopkins 2013 graduation ceremonies). “Of course slavery is worse [than Obamacare],” he scoffed, and anyone who believes “Carson said gay marriage and bestiality are the same thing … is a dummy.” He described criticism of his comments as tactics taken from “the principles of Saul Alinsky” and the only resort of people who have only “ideology” and “cannot argue the actual facts.”

Among his other red-meat rhetoric at CPAC, Carson denounced “extra rights” for LGBTQ people; lectured “minority communities” on the “need to learn how to turn over [a] dollar … and create wealth” and “not [be] a victim”; touted self-determination and faith in God as the keys to “mov[ing] up”; and my personal favorite: declared that America “is about to sail off Niagara Falls, and we’re all going to be killed.”

Perhaps the most intriguing parts of Carson’s comments were his hints at plans for a more overt political role, and further efforts at organizing and recruiting Black conservatives. Carson urged attendees to sign a petition against the ACA, created by Newt Gingrich’s American Legacy PAC— part of a “Save our Healthcare” campaign with Carson as the chair and public face of the project. (See Media Matters on the extremely dubious finances of the American Legacy PAC.)

Carson also announced the imminent launch of a Black conservative digital magazine, which will offer a “different point of view … [not] about being a victim [but] about how we use our collective intellect and our resources to move up.” The magazine will be backed by the Washington Times, where Carson has been a weekly columnist since July of 2013.

Further indication of Carson’s rising celebrity: the “National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee.” Founded by Black conservative Vernon Robinson, the PAC works to raise money and support for a potential 2016 presidential run by Carson (the PAC may also need to convince their would-be candidate to run, as Carson has repeatedly denied having any plans to do so). Last week, the PAC reported in a press release that it had raised $2.8 million in contributions from “nearly 47,000 individuals” in its first six months of operation, “outpacing similar efforts designed to draft other high-profile candidates into the 2016 presidential race” (namely, the Ready for Hillary PAC).

Robinson has argued that Carson is “the only guy who can broaden the GOP base, get 17 percent of the black vote, get a healthy number of Hispanic voters, while still staying true to conservative ideals”— and therefore the only candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton, because 17% is, by his calculations, the percentage of Black voters the GOP needs to persuade to make a Democratic presidential win “mathematically impossible.”

It’s clear from such reasoning that race is a huge part— if not the primary reason for— Carson’s appeal to conservatives.  As I’ve written elsewhere for PRA, he and other Black conservatives give the political Right a convenient, “color-blind” cover for its racism, homophobia, and historical revisionism. Words that out of Paul Ryan’s mouth are lambasted as racist—such as his recent comment about “inner cities” having a “culture problem … of men not working”—get a very different reaction when Black conservatives (or, to be fair, even President Obama) make similar statements. And, of course, there’s the obvious usefulness of a famous world-class surgeon as the face of opposition to the first Black president’s healthcare reform.

Carson and other Black conservatives are also useful to the conservative establishment for the bootstrapping narratives they often tell about their own personal histories. In his media appearances, Carson frequently speaks of his upbringing by a single Black mother who, despite being poor and functionally illiterate, accepted “no excuses” about his education. Carson cites this “no excuses” attitude, coupled with faith in God, as the reasons for his considerable accomplishments.

Similar stories can be heard from Black conservatives like Star Parker, whose authority and appeal rests on her history as a single mother on welfare who found God and swore off “dependency” on the government (which she describes as leaving “Uncle Sam’s plantation”). Senator Tim Scott regaled the CPAC audience with his often-told story of being a “poor kid growing up in a single parent household” who nearly failed out of school before turning his grades and his life around when he found a mentor who taught him that “you can think your way out of poverty” (the takeaway: Scott’s “Opportunity Agenda,” which promotes “school choice”).

These personal accounts of rising from poverty, ostensibly through sheer effort and positive thinking alone, are touted by Black conservatives and the conservative establishment as embodied proof that GOP ideology is somehow pro-Black, and that racial disparities have nothing to do with institutional racism or any systemic injustice. When Carson and other Black conservatives speak before overwhelmingly white audiences like CPAC’s, they serve as living rebukes— and often offer literal rebukes, as Carson did— to Black Americans and minority communities for failing to make it as they have done. Unsurprisingly, such rhetoric falls flat with the majority of Black voters.

Nor has the political hype around these Black GOP stars materialized into serious campaigns for national office. Carson has generated buzz and considerable money as a potential candidate despite his zero political experience at any level of government. And there lies the true utility and appeal of Carson and the Great Conservative Black Hopes who have come before him: Not in their potential to win votes or elections, but rather in how they validate and energize the base. If Carson does choose to run for president in 2016, his campaign is unlikely to last long, much less be a serious contender. But in the meantime, his rising star continues to provide credence to racist GOP ideology and opportunities for PACs with dubious finances to cash in.

“Zero Tolerance” for Silenced Histories: Neglecting Civil Rights Education in Schools

photo credit: Standing On My Sisters' Shoulders

photo credit: Standing On My Sisters’ Shoulders

It’s been a busy few weeks for education policy in America. (Then again, when is it not?)  Just last week, the College Board announced changes in the SAT to make the test a better assessment of school curricula and predictor of college success.  Mayor Bill DeBlasio and charter school champion Eva Moskowitz continued to butt heads over the role of charter schools in New York City.  The Center for American Progress released a new report, Beyond Bullying, focusing on LGBTQ students and the school-to-prison pipeline. And with the snow beginning to thaw and spring right around the corner, teachers and students are gearing up for a new onslaught of high-stakes testing designed to ensure “accountability” and “achievement.”

Many leading advocates of school choice and education “reform” are actually well-established right-wing players whose other political priorities—including anti-unionization efforts, regressive tax policies, and cuts to welfare—demonstrate little interest in defending public institutions or promoting racial justice.  Yet by using people of color as the spokespeople for privatization campaigns, these reformers can claim to be strengthening public schools and combating inequality even as they advance a pro-privatization agenda that is fundamentally at odds with commitments to racial and economic justice.

For example, as Political Research Associates’ fellow Rachel Tabachnick and others have documented, the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) has been a vocal advocate for vouchers and private school choice in Washington, D.C., Louisiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  Its founder, Howard Fuller, previously played a pivotal role in establishing a voucher program in Milwaukee.  The resulting voucher and corporate tax credit programs have helped redirect millions of public dollars from public schools to private schools.

People for the American Way has described BAEO—which was established in 2010 and receives major funding from both the Walton (i.e. Walmart) and Bradley Foundations—as “better known for supporting education privatization and affirmative action rollbacks than empowerment of the African-American community or low-income families.”  Indeed, the promise of the education reform movement to “close the achievement gap” and “end educational inequality” is disingenuous at best and empty and pernicious at worst when considering the role of its primary funders in perpetuating racial, economic, and gender inequality.

A few other recent news stories, however, have suggested ways to engage with substantive questions of racial justice in public schools.  President Obama, for example, recently announced “My Brother’s Keeper,” a new initiative that, while far from perfect (particularly in its neglect of female and LGBTQ students), is designed to support young men of color and intervene in the school-to-prison pipeline.

Additionally, the Southern Poverty Law Center just released an updated version of Teaching the Movement, which evaluates civil rights education across the United States. The report serves as a powerful reminder that improving public schools must go beyond debates over high-stakes testing, reading comprehension, and complex fractions.  Unfortunately, the report also makes clear that we still have a long way to go.

The authors note that some states have made important improvements to their curricula since the report was first released in 2011. Still, 20 states still scored a big red “F” according to the SPLC’s criteria, and an additional 14 states still earned a “D.”  As the report’s authors state bluntly, “We remain concerned that students are likely to remember only two names and four words about the civil rights movement: Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and ‘I have a dream.’”

While education reformers remain hyper-focused on test scores and “achievement,” SPLC’s criticism regarding a lack of civil rights literacy is about far more than just getting 11th graders to ace the Advanced Placement U.S. History exam.  In his introduction to the report, Henry Louis Gates Jr. describes, 

“All of us are aware of the pressures our teachers and children are under to keep pace with the world’s students in science and math, but without a steep grounding in our history, what will rising generations have to pivot from? What will inspire them to remake their world with the confidence that comes from knowing it has been done before?”

Too often, debates over public education sidestep discussions of how schools can teach students not only to master Common Core standards, but also to be active, thoughtful, justice-driven members of society. Quoting civil rights historian Taylor Branch, the report offers one response: “If you’re trying to teach people to be citizens, teach them about the civil rights movement.”  Notably, Branch does not mention suspensions, high-stakes testing, or Teach for America as citizenship-building.  In the conclusion to Teaching the Movement, the report emphasizes just how high the stakes are: “When students learn about the civil rights movement, they learn about the democratic responsibility of individuals to oppose oppression and to work for justice. We gloss over the civil rights movement at our own peril as a nation working to achieve equal opportunities for all citizens.”

Meanwhile, as reformers lament a (non-existent) decline in test scores and wax nostalgic about the 1960s when American students “were so much smarter,” they obscure critical gains in public education access for students of color since the end of Jim Crow-era segregation and the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board decision.  Even after Brown in the 1960s, Black students in the United States often still found themselves in segregated, woefully underfunded classrooms.  “At the same time,” the report notes, “the very school districts that Brown desegregated have now re-segregated”  While some charter schools have managed to raise test scores, they may contribute to the resegregation of public schools, while also pushing out ELLs, students with disabilities, and others.

Ultimately, our failure to prioritize civil rights education in American classrooms is not an isolated problem.  Rather, it reflects a much broader and arguably misguided discussion about what constitutes racial justice within public education.  We talk endlessly about the “achievement gap,” but we do far less to fight back against efforts to ban ethnic studies in Arizona and elsewhere.  Many charter schools—the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) being the most well-known—place a heavy emphasis on character development and strict discipline policies. But as we debate discipline and “zero tolerance,” we neglect the shoddy teaching of the Civil Rights Movement and other substantive discussions of curriculum.  In doing so, we fail to make schools critical sites of intervention against a history of oppression and injustice, prioritizing “grit” and “zero tolerance” over the too often hidden histories of people resisting, dreaming, and building toward a better future.

The Adoption Crunch, the Christian Right, and the Challenge to Indian Sovereignty

While the demand for adoptable babies is increasing in the United States—driven in large part by evangelical Christians—the number of babies available for adoption is declining. Adoption agencies are now targeting tribal nations as a potential new source of babies to adopt, and forming alliances that threaten to undermine the sovereignty of Native American nations.

photo credit: The Post and Courier

photo credit: The Post and Courier

**This article appears in the Winter 2014 issue of The Public Eye magazine.**

On September 23, 2013, a child-custody battle that was nearly five years in the making came to its conclusion in Oklahoma when an Army veteran from the Cherokee Nation, Dusten Brown, handed over his daughter, Veronica, to Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a White couple from South Carolina who had raised her for the first two years of her life.1

Brown gained custody of four-year-old Veronica in December 2011, after a South Carolina court ruled that the adoption process had violated federal Indian law. Brown’s attorneys also argued that Christina Maldonado—Brown’s ex-fiancé and Veronica’s biological mother, who is Latina—had deliberately concealed plans to let the Capobiancos adopt her.2  As the custody decision was reversed following a 2013 Supreme Court ruling,3 and Veronica was tucked into the Capobiancos’ car to return to South Carolina, the scene was broadcast across national and social media to two polarized camps.  Read More

White Supremacist “Analyst” on Cable News’ Coverage of Zimmerman & Dunn Trials

Taaffe CNN1 The trials of both Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman have brought national attention to Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. Media coverage of the trials has also proven to be an enormous boon for certain white supremacists, who have managed to use mainstream news outlets as a platform for bigotry.  Nowhere is this more evident—and disturbing—than in the case of Frank Taaffe.

Taaffe (who is also a neighbor and close friend of Zimmerman) has established himself as the most visible and vocal supporter of both George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn in cable news network coverage of the trials. Despite repeated revelations of Taaffe’s white supremacy activities, he continues to appear as a regular guest analyst on CNN’s HLN shows, including Nancy Grace’s coverage just this past week. His success in mainstreaming extremism should be a warning call.

 “Standing Our Ground” and The White Voice Network: Who is Frank Taaffe? 

Taaffe HLNTaaffe’s white supremacist “credentials” are extensive. Beginning in August of 2013, Taaffe hosted a weekly show on The White Voice Network, which describes itself as “media, news, and information for White people against White genocide.” Taaffe’s program is aptly named “Standing our Ground,” and is co-hosted with the author of the “Save White People Handbook,” Joe Adams. The Network’s guest list has included Tom Metzger, who founded White Aryan Resistance and who was praised by Joe Adams for his work against “niggers” and Jews.

Hosts and guests on The White Voice believe they must be proactive in defending themselves against the white genocide efforts of “niggers and mud people,” as Joe Adams describes in Episode 76.  In that same episode, guest Tom Metzger warns that the “nonwhites are getting more brave and bold all the time.” Frank Taaffe’s remarks have been similarly offensive, as evidenced by this short clip from Episode 8 of “Standing Our Ground,” which has since been scrubbed from the White Voice Network’s website.

**WARNING: Strong language**

Clip from “Standing Our Ground” episode 8, October 3, 2013

Transcript:

Caller: I think I did use the name Oprah Winfrey, so would Oprah Winfrey qualify as a nigger to you?

Joseph Adams: To me she wouldn’t.

Frank Taaffe: I think she is.

Joseph Adams: Frank you go first, then.

Frank Taaffe: “Yeah, she’s a nigger because she keeps spewing out all that bullshit. She goes over to Switzerland and she says that the lady didn’t want to share a handbag because she thought that she couldn’t afford it, and she keeps just doing what she’s doing. She keeps stirring the pot. She keeps trying to promote her boy Obama. You know, Obama could do no wrong. You know, it’s birds of a feather, they flock together and stick together, and to me, she’s a nigger. Oprah Winfrey’s a nigger. She’s a nigger.”

White Voice Programming and Stand Your Ground 

In addition to Taaffe’s show, The White Voice Network includes a slate of other podcasts, including their new program, “Traditionalist Youth Hour,” hosted by Matthew Heimbach, Matt Parrott, and Thomas Buhls. All three are affiliated with the Traditionalist Youth Network, and Buhls is also a coordinator for the Knights Party Veterans League of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

Heimbach is a 2013 graduate of Towson University, where he founded Youth for Western Civilization, a white nationalist organization.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Heimbach has taken a turn to the Hard Right since graduating, so much so that he was booted out of the League of the South for participating in Klan and neo-Nazi gatherings.  (Heimbach had been given an award by the League of the South at their 2012 conference in Montgomery, where Heimbach and his friends spent their evening hours “flagging” locations, or taking pictures of themselves with Confederate flags. These landmarks included the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. pastored, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, described by the group as planning “white genocide.”)

The baby-faced, constantly smiling Heimbach has told ABC News that he considers himself a racist.  In an interview with the National Socialist Movement, Heimbach described himself as a Christian nationalist with a “spiritual calling.”  He also described the United States today as a sick and dying society comparable to Germany in the ’20s and ’30s.  Heimbach explained that fiery faith is crucial as a motivation, stating, “I wouldn’t die for tax cuts for the rich.  I’m not going to die about what road they’re going to build through our county.” He continues, “But I will die for my faith.”  He cites Francisco Franco as the best example of a leader for the Christian Nationalist Movement.

It was Heimbach and his White Student Union that caused the widely-reported commotion at CPAC in 2013, as he and others affiliated with the Union shouted out in defense of slavery and segregation during a session on GOP outreach to minorities. 

Networks, Cable News, and the Mainstreaming of Extremism 

In recent months, Mariah Blake has written several articles [see here, here, and here] about Taaffe’s background on Mother Jones. Blake noted that Taaffe was invited by HLN to “weigh in on legal and technical aspects of the Zimmerman case, from the implications of witness testimony to the meaning of forensic evidence” and was given a platform to counter forensic experts and medical examiners.  In fact, one of Taaffe’s “Standing Our Ground” shows was live broadcast while Taaffe was in a limo on the way to Headline News Studio. Despite Blake’s revelations about Taaffe’s white supremacist activities and his criminal record, he has continued to be featured as an analyst on HLN’s Nancy Grace Show, appearing as recently as this past week.

Meanwhile, in his podcasts for The White Voice, Taaffe makes no effort to hide his supremacist beliefs in regards to Trayvon Martin, Michael Dunn, and Stand Your Ground laws: In one episode of “Standing Our Ground,” Frank Taaffe tells a black caller to the show, “Listen up, negro.  You got your justice.  It’s the Trayvon Martin Foundation and they’re reeling in the big bucks.”  Taaffe continues, “Listen to me, man.  We did our best in the South, and the South will rise again.  Okay, you want to come on down.  Make sure you remember this is Florida.  You come on vacation, leave on probation, and you’re back on violation.” Taaffe CNN2

Media Matters reported in 2013 that Taaffe’s media footprint has also “included ABC News, CNN, NBC News, Fox News, CBS News, MSNBC, and CNN-spinoff HLN” and “more than 60 separate primetime appearances on HLN alone.”[emphasis added]

Ultimately, we must recognize that Taaffe’s successful transformation into a “mainstream” media fixture is not an isolated problem.  Both current and former members of the League of the South can now claim the title of “media superstar,” as documented in Nullification, Neo-Confederates, and the Revenge of the Old Right. The mainstreaming of extremism is a widespread and deeply disturbing. Those committed to advancing racial and social justice would be wise to pay attention to the voices and ideas being given legitimacy every day on network news.

Profiles on the Right: Ryan Bomberger

Ryan Scott Bomberger Photo credit: Penny Starr, CNSnews

Ryan Scott Bomberger
Photo credit: Penny Starr, CNSnews

At the Family Research Council’s 2012 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., where he was a featured speaker, Ryan Bomberger opened his remarks by saying “I’m as Black as Obama.” He explained that his biological mother was raped, became pregnant, chose to carry him to term, and put him up for adoption. He was accepted into a large family with White parents and other multicultural, multiracial adoptee brothers and sisters.1

Bomberger and his wife, Bethany, cofounded The Radiance Foundation in Atlanta, GA, in 2009. They both earned graduate degrees from Pat Robertson’s Regent University, and Ryan was Regent’s alumnus of the year in 2012. The Radiance Foundation is now based in Virginia Beach, VA, where Regent University is located.

Bomberger, who earned an MA in communications, is the “chief creative officer” at Radiance. His use of social media is highly sophisticated, and Radiance’s interactive website is rich with video shorts. The organization’s self-described mission is to “illuminate the intrinsic value each person possesses” through “creative ad campaigns, powerful multi-media presentations, and compassionate community outreach.”2

Bomberger has worked on a number of initiatives, including the notorious “Too Many Aborted” billboard campaign. Launched in Atlanta in 2010, the billboards juxtaposed images of African-American babies or toddlers with inflammatory statements. One compared abortion with the African genocide of the transatlantic slave trade. The campaign was endorsed by several national African-American antichoice leaders, including Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and director of African-American outreach at Priests for Life.3

“Too Many Aborted” was funded by Georgia Right to Life, a prominent antichoice institution with more than 30 chapters throughout the state. Registered as a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organization, it pursues public education and outreach activities while also conducting substantial legislative work, including lobbying the Georgia state legislature and endorsing candidates.

Since conceptualizing the billboards, Bomberger has turned to creating ads that promote transracial adoption. One of his recent media campaigns, “Turn the Unplanned into a Loving Plan,” is a collaborative effort with the RealOptions Medical Pregnancy Clinics of California and Bethany Christian Services.4  The latter is an international adoption agency with reported revenue of more than $82 million in 2012.

The public service announcement they collaboratively produced shows images of White parents and a cast of multiracial children, reflecting the antichoice movement’s effort to broaden its appeal by highlighting diversity. Bomberger, through his personal story and his media savvy, is becoming an increasingly vital contributor to that goal.

Next ProfileThis profile also appears in the Summer 2013 issue of the of PRA’s Public Eye magazine.


1. “Ryan Bomberger speaks at Values Voter Summit 2012,” YouTube, Feb. 18, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZW5tVQBFkA.

2. “Our Vision and Mission,” The Radiance Foundation, http://www.theradiancefoundation.org/our-story/our-vision-mission.

3. Penny Starr, Ryan Scott Bomberger, “A Rape Victim’s Child Speaks Up for Right to Life,” Catholic Online, Nov. 12, 2011, http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=43637.

4. “Turn the Unplanned Into a Loving Plan,” The Radiance Foundation, http://www.theradiancefoundation.org/turn-the-unplanned-into-a-loving-plan.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute Plots New Strategies in War on Women

The Charlotte Lozier Institute aims to abolish abortion rights in the United States by recasting antichoice as authentic feminism, promoting incremental antichoice laws, and undermining the work of the prochoice Guttmacher Institute. Though it bills itself as a research organization, its strengths are in the realms of marketing and public relations, and it is creating new synergies and strategies within the antichoice movement.

The Guttmacher Institute has been a thorn in the antichoice movement’s side since 1968, when it was founded by Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Guttmacher, which is now an independent think tank, supports abortion rights and broad access to contraception, and it produces scholarly articles and collects abortion-related statistics that are used by a wide range of scholars, journalists, and activists. The Right’s dilemma has been that Guttmacher’s data are generally more comprehensive than the statistics collected by government agencies, which means that even antichoice advocates frequently rely on Guttmacher—and lend legitimacy to an institution whose mission they deplore.

CLI and its allies hope to cast antichoice as the genuinely feminist, pro-women’s health position. Photo courtesy of NewBirth35.

CLI and its allies hope to cast antichoice as the genuinely feminist, pro-women’s health position. Photo courtesy of NewBirth35.

Now, the antichoice movement is trying to create a competitor to its old nemesis. The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), founded in 2011, is branding itself as the anti-Guttmacher: a source of abortion-related data and research that can be used by antichoice lawmakers and advocates.

CLI is the creation of the Susan B. Anthony List (SBAL), an organization that “emphasizes the education, promotion, mobilization, and election of pro-life women at all levels of government” and claims to represent more than 365,000 antichoice people in the United States.1  In June 2013, it announced an initiative to “recruit and organize pro-life women in state legislatures” and “foster community between pro-life women lawmakers across the country, and connect them with the resources they need to pass pro-life laws.”2

According to the SBAL’s 2013 business plan, CLI was founded “to muster the research to make our case for Life compelling.”3  Its budget this year is $700,000.4  It has received sizeable donations from several institutions, including the Chiaroscuro Foundation,5 Goldman Sachs’ Philanthropy Fund,6 and the Saeman Family Foundation.7  Its homepage also notes that CLI is “grateful to our friends at A-1 Storage,” a California-based self-storage company.

Though it bills itself as the SBAL’s “education and research arm,” CLI mainly repackages and comments on existing antichoice studies, and its leadership and affiliated scholars often contribute to public debates on reproductive issues. Its president, Charles A. Donovan, for example, has appeared on Fox News8 and CNN9 speaking against the Obama administration’s mandate that employers of a certain size provide employees with insurance coverage for women’s preventive health services, including birth control and emergency birth control, as part of the Affordable Care Act.

In its mission statement, CLI pledges to remain “faithful to the best methodologies and standards, inviting and accepting debate in the pursuit of our goals so that our work earns the highest degree of public trust and respect.”10 But in their role as authorities on reproductive health, CLI’s staff and associates sometimes make bold assertions based on little or no actual evidence.

For example, a recent piece by Teresa A. Donovan, one of Charlotte Lozier’s “associate scholars,” attacks the Food and Drug Administration’s decision in April to make emergency birth control Plan B available over the counter to females 15 and older.11 Donovan argues against Plan B on the basis that it is a “potential abortifacient,” citing the Plan B One-Step label’s indication that it may inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg.12

But an investigation by the New York Times, published in June 2012, reported that “[s]tudies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb . . . Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.”13

In April 2013, Christianity Today published an essay that discussed the actual effects of Plan B and noted that its maker, Teva Pharmaceuticals, “has repeatedly asked the FDA to remove its warning label that the drug ‘may inhibit implantation by altering the endometrium [the inside lining of the uterus].’” The piece also quoted Dennis Sullivan, the director of Cedarville University’s Center for Bioethics, who reviewed the relevant research for a scholarly journal. “He found ‘no evidence’ that Plan B causes abortions,” according to Christianity Today. Sullivan observed, “Our claims of conscience should be based on scientific fact, and we should be willing to change our claims if facts change.”14

Lacking much in the way of actual evidence or original research, CLI is pursuing a strategy that focuses on improving the antichoice movement’s public-relations operations and political effectiveness—high priorities for the SBAL, which suffered embarrassing defeats in the 2012 election cycle after backing extremist antichoice candidates. Most notably, it supported former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who lost his Senate race after publicly defending his support for full abortion bans, with no exception for rape, by implying that rape victims rarely become pregnant. One of the SBAL’s near-term initiatives is to improve the “knowledge and communication skills” of state and federal candidates when it comes to abortion and other “Life issues.”15

CLI’s overarching goal is clearly expressed on its website: abortion is a “scourge” that should be “diminished and ultimately overcome.”16 The evidence suggests that, so far, it is pursuing this mission by developing three angles of attack: portraying antichoice as authentic feminism; promoting incremental restrictions on abortion rights; and attempting to cast doubt on Guttmacher’s work. Representatives of the Charlotte Lozier Institute and the SBAL declined multiple requests to be interviewed for this article.

Charlotte Lozier’s leadership

CLI’s president, Charles A. Donovan, is a longtime Beltway insider with decades of experience working for conservative think tanks, including the National Right to Life Committee; the Family Research Council, where he served in high leadership roles; and The Heritage Foundation, where he was a senior research fellow in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society.17 He was also a writer in the Reagan administration.18

As the face of CLI, Donovan makes frequent appearances on television news programs, and he testifies on behalf of abortion-related legislation at the state and federal levels. Last year, for example, he testified in support of an Arizona state bill that precluded reproductive health organizations from receiving Medicaid funding for non-abortion health services if they also offer abortion.19 Donovan claimed the focus of the bill was on “integrated, or whole-woman, care.”20 But the legislation was part of a national effort, led by the SBAL, to defund Planned Parenthood. The bill was signed into law but ultimately blocked in a federal court.

In early 2008, Donovan joined nearly 100 prominent social conservatives in signing a pledge titled “A Catholic Response to the ‘Call for Civility.’”21 The statement was a rejoinder to one released by the Catholic Civility Project the previous year, asking Catholic laymen to withhold from “making specifically Catholic judgments on those politicians who espouse positions contrary to Church teaching.”22

“A Catholic Response” included a list of issues that deserve condemnation by Roman Catholic politicians if they stray from the Church’s teachings. Prominent among the issues is abortion, as well as “embryo-destructive research” and “homosexual marriage.”

CLI’s adjunct scholar, Michael J. New, is a rising star in the antichoice movement and an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He is also associated with several conservative think tanks, including the Cato Institute, Witherspoon Institute, and The Heritage Foundation.23

New writes regularly about abortion and “traditional” family values and gives talks at conservative events, arguing that the only strategies that work at reducing abortion are “sexual restraint” and “pro-life laws.” What doesn’t work, he claims, are “more welfare spending,” “universal health care,” and “more spending on contraceptives.”24

In a speech at the 2012 Values Voter Summit, New described the Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglass Prenatal Discrimination Act, or PRENDA, as one of CLI’s policy interests. PRENDA, which was introduced in Congress in 2008 by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), would prohibit sex- and race-selective abortions. The bill has not yet made inroads at the federal level, but four states—Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania—have passed PRENDA-like provisions. CLI’s website features a picture of an Asian infant and a downloadable fact sheet, informing readers that sex-selective abortion—once practiced primarily in Asian nations—has now come to the United States and is concentrated within Asian-American communities.

PRENDA’s advocates are using a genuine global problem as a wedge for advancing further restrictions on abortion rights. In written testimony supplied to a December 2011 House committee hearing on PRENDA, representatives of the reproductive justice community explained that the bill “places an unfair burden on women of color that other women do not have to face—increased scrutiny around our motives for seeking abortion care. This scrutiny promotes racial profiling by pushing doctors to assume Black, Latina, and Asian women are seeking abortions because of the race or sex of the fetus. Moreover, making abortion harder to obtain will exacerbate the health disparities women of color already face.”25

At key right-wing meetings and conferences, New is helping to promote such legislation and is informing audiences about how CLI can help antichoice leaders generate new ideas and policy to counter the social justice movement.

The only other staff member listed on CLI’s website is Nora Sullivan, a research assistant, who has been “[a]ctive in the pro-life movement since high school,” when she volunteered for an antichoice “pregnancy care center.” Since graduating from college in 2010, Sullivan has been involved with major Beltway antichoice think tanks, including the Family Research Council and Americans United for Life.

CLI also has a stable of “associate scholars” who frequently address antichoice issues in public forums.26 They include Dr. Byron C. Calhoun, vice chair at West Virginia University-Charleston’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Margaret Hartshorn, the president of Heartbeat International, a network of antichoice crisis pregnancy centers known for manipulating women into continuing unwanted pregnancies.27

Antichoice as “authentic feminism”

The GOP’s losses in the 2012 election cycle—tied in part to the Republicans’ “war on women”—have given new urgency to the Right’s quest to recast itself in a more female-friendly light, and CLI is attempting to become a key purveyor of this message. On its IRS form, CLI describes one of its program services as promoting “authentic feminism,” which means “to disseminate information in support of (1) the historical accuracy of the claim that the first wave of women’s rights activists were pro-life; and (2) the ethical and philosophical harmony of a pro-life feminist position.”28

The messaging begins with its name. The SBAL and other antichoice groups have characterized Susan B. Anthony and Charlotte Denman Lozier as feminists who were steadfastly opposed to abortion. Lozier was a physician and woman’s suffragist in New York City. She died in 1870, when she was in her mid-20s, from complications while giving birth. Several historical obituaries describe Lozier as a noble, caring physician and a member of the “Women’s Suffrage and Workingwomen’s Associations.”29

In claiming Lozier as a forebear, antichoice groups have focused on an incident in which Lozier called for the arrest of a man who brought a woman in to have an abortion. As the CLI website notes: “Charlotte Lozier refused to violate her morals, professional code, and the law of the state. She insisted, ‘A person who asks a physician to commit the crime of ante-natal infanticide can be no more considered his patient then [sic] one who asks him to poison his wife.’”30  What’s missing from these accounts is the context of the era in which these women lived: Abortion was a dangerous procedure—usually a woman’s last choice, and often a deadly one. It was also illegal, making the current categories of prochoice and antichoice irrelevant.

But the “pro-women” messaging goes deeper than just the historical reference in its name. CLI is at the forefront of advancing the Right’s theory that framing abortion as a women’s-health issue is more effective, politically, than focusing on its morality.

Yale University law professor and legal scholar Reva B. Siegel, who has written extensively about the antichoice movement’s bid to develop new constitutional understandings of abortion rights, argues that the 1990s saw the beginning of an evolution in the arguments against abortion. “Leaders of the antiabortion movement embraced gender paternalism and began to supplement or even supplant the constitutional argument ‘Abortion kills a baby’ with a new claim ‘Abortion hurts women,’” Siegel writes.31

CLI is both following in this tradition and expanding on it. In one recent article, Nora Sullivan cites a study that looked at the mortality rates in Denmark “associated specifically with first pregnancy outcome alone.” It concluded that, “compared to women who delivered, women who had an early or late abortion had significantly higher mortality rates within 1 through 10 years.”32 The study was produced by David Reardon and Priscilla Coleman, two staple researchers in the antichoice movement, some of whose research has been challenged or discredited.33

Their research is contradicted by a 2012 study produced by Gynuity Health Projects, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to ensure that reproductive health technologies are widely available at reasonable cost” and whose efforts “are focused particularly on resource-poor environments” and “underserved populations.”34 Its study, which compared data on live births and pregnancy- and abortion-related deaths, found that “legal induced abortion is markedly safer than childbirth. The risk of death associated with childbirth is approximately 14 times higher than with abortion.”35

Another “pro-women’s health” angle that interests CLI is the trafficking of sex workers. According to its tax-exemption form filed with the Internal Revenue Service in 2012,36 the organization’s preliminary plans included researching the relationship between reproductive-health clinics and sex trafficking. CLI had conducted “a feasibility study of a potential major project for 2012 designed to ascertain the extent to which reproductive and general health care facilities are—inadvertently and/or negligently—helping to perpetuate sex trafficking of women by failing to identify and rescue trafficked women and girls.”

The feasibility study was conducted in 2011, a year when sex-trafficking, as it relates to abortion clinics, was a hot topic in antichoice circles and in Congress, after the antichoice activist Lila Rose and her organization, Live Action, released a series of videos surreptitiously taped at Planned Parenthood clinics. The videos captured activists posing as pimps and underage sex workers.37

The videos helped fuel a campaign, spearheaded by the SBAL, encouraging federal and state governments to defund Planned Parenthood. In 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 240 to 185 to eliminate all federal grants to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, despite the fact that those grants go toward non-abortion family planning services for low-income women. It was largely a symbolic vote, since the legislation had no chance of passing the Senate.38

The sex-trafficking project does not appear in the SBAL’s 2013 business plan, but the plan does assert that “the next two years promise to bring more opportunities to produce game-changing impact on the policy process in the nation’s capital.”

The antichoice movement’s long game

Aside from promoting antichoice ideology as authentic feminism, CLI is using at least two other strategies to pursue its mission. One is promoting legislation that gradually but methodically restricts access to reproductive health care, making it as inaccessible as possible. As Michael New has openly said, antichoice laws are most effective when they raise the cost of abortion and impose other obstacles to getting one.39 The other strategy is to attempt to undermine the Guttmacher Institute’s authority and credibility.

Toward the goal of restricting reproductive rights, CLI advances the disputed claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks—an argument that has been used in 10 state legislatures to ban abortions after that point, most recently in Texas.40 In June 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,41 which would do the same at the federal level (though it has no chance of passing the Senate).

Maureen Condic, a CLI associate scholar and associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah, testified on behalf of the Act. “From the perspective of neuroscience, it is unclear precisely what ‘psychological’ aspects of a mature pain experience are in place at precisely what point in either human prenatal or postnatal development,” Condic said. “It is impossible for me to know with certainty whether another adult, a teenager or a fetus experiences pain in precisely the same manner I do. Yet it is entirely uncontested that a fetus experiences pain in some capacity, from as early as 8 weeks of development.”42

Condic’s suggestion that fetuses are “pain capable” at eight weeks is crucial: It illustrates the antichoice movement’s broader strategy of gradually pushing for new abortion restrictions based on emerging—but dubious—“evidence” about fetal development. Antichoice groups have set the target for abortion bans at 20 weeks, but if they can convince lawmakers that fetuses feel pain “in some capacity” at eight weeks, as Condic claims, why shouldn’t abortion be banned at that point?

CLI’s third strategy is similar in that it involves a methodical, long-term plan: chipping away at the Guttmacher Institute’s credibility while calling for government agencies to begin collecting data that are broader in scope than what Guttmacher now collects. The strategy has the potential to simultaneously diminish Guttmacher’s importance while opening new angles of attack on abortion rights.

In a New York Times op-ed piece, published in January 2013, Charles Donovan gave a hint of things to come by comparing the Guttmacher Institute to an agenda-driven research arm of the tobacco industry. “We know what California’s and Maryland’s abortion rates are because their doctors and clinics, like those across the nation, voluntarily submit data to the Guttmacher Institute,” Donovan wrote. “Guttmacher is an independent enterprise, but it was once affiliated with Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States. There is no reason to think that the institute, whose abortion totals are consistently about a third higher than the C.D.C.’s because of these omitted states, is not a reliable source of data for the number of legal abortions occurring nationwide. And yet we would not be comfortable with our primary information on tobacco or manufacturing pollution coming from entities rooted in those sectors.”43

The previous month, Donovan and CLI’s research assistant, Nora Sullivan, made the case for stronger abortion-related data in a report titled “Abortion Reporting Laws: Tears in the Fabric.”

“Across the spectrum of views about the legal status of abortion throughout the duration of pregnancy, a wide range of commentators have urged public policies that would render the practice rare,” Donovan and Sullivan wrote. “An examination of state and federal reporting policies makes clear, nonetheless, that the system now in place is poorly suited to determine whether or not, in fact, abortion is becoming significantly less frequent and to what degree, especially in year-over-year comparisons where published data is delayed, non-existent, or available only from a single source with a history of close ties to the industry itself.”44

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relies mainly on voluntary reporting of abortion statistics. Many states record the information differently, if at all. The Guttmacher Institute, which collects a lot of data itself, has become the more utilized source for state and national abortion statistics.

The areas that CLI wants to see better reported by states include information on abortion complications, viability of the aborted fetus, maternal mortality, follow-up care, and how often and under what circumstances minors were able to obtain abortions without parental notice.

Asked whether the Guttmacher Institute supports laws calling for standardized abortion reporting at the state and federal level, Guttmacher senior communications associate Joerg Dreweke said he supports comprehensive public reporting around the incidence of abortion—to a point.

But, Dreweke wrote in an email, “Government abortion reporting systems must be used only for legitimate public health purposes; they must not be hijacked or in any way utilized to stigmatize women obtaining abortions, harass abortion providers or otherwise promote an antiabortion policy agenda. Some abortion-related reporting indicators that antiabortion activists are seeking to mandate have no place in a public health reporting system. For instance, while there may be a political motive, there is no public health purpose to knowing whether a minor obtained her abortion with parental consent.”

CLI’s attempts to cast doubt on Guttmacher’s legitimacy and make it less relevant are part of a broader, sustained attack on the institution. For example, a rising star in the antichoice movement, Ryan Bomberger, has also taken aim at Guttmacher with a video, titled “We’ve Been Guttmacher’d,” that aims to expose it as a shill for Planned Parenthood with deep-rooted eugenicist motivations.

Paraphrasing Malcolm X, Bomberger explained in an email: “‘We’ve Been Guttmacher’d’ simply means we’ve been lied to, hoodwinked, propagandized.”45  Guttmacher hasn’t been honest about the fact that it has received money from Planned Parenthood in recent years, Bomberger believes. He also claims that the organization is part of a broad conspiracy to encourage the abortion of black children.

Bomberger, who is “chief creative officer” of The Radiance Foundation, has no formal affiliation with CLI, but his anti-Guttmacher campaign illustrates how CLI is creating synergies within the broader antichoice movement and helping develop and refine new angles of attack. [See related sidebar.] It may never achieve its intention of becoming Guttmacher’s rival as a research institution. But if it is successful in its three-pronged strategy—casting the antichoice position as authentic feminism, helping push incremental restrictions on abortion rights, and delegitimizing Guttmacher’s work—that might not matter. CLI has so far been more focused on communications and advocacy than science and research. In policy contests over women’s reproductive freedoms, there are many cases in which the former has trumped the latter.

This article also appears in the Summer 2013 issue of the of PRA’s Public Eye magazine.


1. “SBA List Launches National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus,” Susan B. Anthony List, June 10, 2013, http://www.sba-list.org/newsroom/press-releases/sba-list-launches-national pro-life-women%E2%80%99s-caucus.

2. “SBA List Launches National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus.”

3. “Susan B. Anthony Business Plan 2013: Reclaiming the Human Center of the Abortion Debate,” 4, www.sba-list.org/sites/default/files/content/shared/sba_list_2013_biz_plan_web_0.pdf.

4. “Susan B. Anthony List Business Plan 2013,” 31.

5. Chiaroscuro Foundation, Return of Private Foundation, IRS Form 990-PF, 2011, www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2011/205/858/2011-205858767-08dbcc2e-F.pdf.

6. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund’s IRS Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990, 2011, http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2011/311/774/2011-311774905-08a4f0e6-9.pdf.

7. Saeman Family Foundation, “Return of Private Foundation,” Form 990-PF, 2011, http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2011/841/442/2011-841442064-0830dda9-F.pdf.

8. “Fox News Interview with Chuck Donovan, SBA List Education Fund,” YouTube, Oct. 17, 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_9tXjKrKfgE#at=61.

9. “CNN: Chuck Donovan on the HHS Mandate Policy Update,” Feb. 4, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Zl-Y_DdHD6s#at=20.

10. “Mission,” The Charlotte Lozier Institute, http://www.lozierinstitute.org/about/mission.

11. Teresa Donovan, “Plan B: Abortifacient and Other Risks,” May 2, 2013, www.lozierinstitute.org/plan-b-abortifacient-and-other-risks.

12. “How Plan B One-Step Works,” http://www.planbonestep.com/plan-b-prescribers/how-plan-b-works.aspx.

13. Pam Belluck, “Abortion Qualms on Morning-After Pill May Be Unfounded,” New York Times, Jun. 5, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/health/research/morning-after-pills-dont-block-implantation-science-suggests.html?pagewanted=all.

14. Ruth Moon, “Does Plan B Cause Abortion,” Christianity Today,  April 5, 2013, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/may/does-plan-b-cause-abortion.html.

15. “Susan B. Anthony List Business Plan 2013,” 9.

16. See “Mission,” Charlotte Lozier Institute, www.lozierinstitute.org/about/mission.

17. See “Staff,” Charlotte Lozier Institute, www.lozierinstitute.org/about/staff.

18. See “Chuck Donovan,” FRC Action, http://downloads.frcaction.org/EF/EF09K06.pdf.

19. “HB 2800,” http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/50leg/2r/bills/hb2800p.pdf.

20. See “Testimony in Support of Arizona HB 2800,” www.sba-list.org/sites/default/files/content/shared/02.15.12_chuck_donovan_az_hb2800_testimony.pdf.

21. “Catholic Laymen in the Public Square: A Catholic Response to the ‘Call for Civility,’” January 22, 2008, http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/Portals/0/Old%20PDFs/Call%20to%20Civility.pdf.

22. Jeff Mirus, “Civility in its Proper Context,” CatholicCulture.org, Jan. 23, 2008, www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=208.

23. The Heritage Foundation website hosts an extensive collection of New’s writings: http://www.heritage.org/about/staff/n/michael-new.

24. Michael New, “Pro-Life Success in the States: Strategies for the Current Debate and Beyond,” Pro-Life Science and Technology Conference, Sept. 8, 2012, http://www.lifetechconference.org/slides/2012/New_2012.pdf.

25. “Hearing on H.R. 3541,The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2011: Written Testimony from the Reproductive Justice Community,” December 6, 2011, http://napawf.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/PreNDA-Letter-RJ-Orgs.pdf.

26. “Life-Issue Think Tank Announces Associate Scholars,” Charlotte Lozier Institute, Dec. 4, 2012, www.lozierinstitute.org/life-issue-think-tank-announces-associate-scholars.

27. See “Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Using Religion to Manipulate Women,” Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice,” http://www.rcrc.org/issues/crisis_pregnancy_centers.cfm.

28. Charlotte Lozier Institute, “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax,” IRS Form 990, 2011, https://bulk.resource.org/irs.gov/eo/2012_08_EO/26-4788700_990_201112.pdf.

29. See, for example, “Death of Dr. Charlotte Lozier,” New York Times, January 4, 1870.

30. “Charlotte Lozier,” Charlotte Lozier Institute, http://www.lozierinstitute.org/about/charlotte-lozier-bio/.

31. Reva B. Siegel, “The Right’s Reasons: Constitutional Conflict and the Spread of Woman-Protective Antiabortion Argument,” Duke Law Journal (2008), 1649, http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1361&context=dlj.

32. David Reardon and Priscilla Coleman, “Article Abstract: Short and long term mortality rates associated with first pregnancy outcome: Population register based study for Denmark 1980–2004,” Medical Science Monitor, 2012, www.medscimonit.com/abstract/index/idArt/883338.

33. In 2009, for example, Coleman co-authored a study that tied abortion to an increased risk for depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and other mental-health problems. The Guttmacher Institute reanalyzed the study in 2012 and found that it was severely flawed. A major problem was that Coleman and her co-authors drew a correlation between abortion and mental-health problems even when the problems preceded the abortion. See Alexandra Sifferlin, “Study Linking Abortion to Mental Health Problems Is Flawed,” March 8, 2012, http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/08/study-linking-abortion-to-mental-health-problems-is-flawed.

34. “10 Years: 2003-2013,” Gynuity Health Projects, http://gynuity.org.

35. Elizabeth G. Raymond and David A. Grimes, “The comparative safety of legal induced abortion and childbirth in the United States,” Obstetrics & Gynecology (Feb. 2012), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22270271.

36. Charlotte Lozier Institute, “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.”

37. “Exposing Planned Parenthood’s Cover-Up of Child Sex Trafficking,” Live Action, http://www.liveaction.org/traffick.

38. See Lucy Madison, “Planned Parenthood loses funding in House vote,” Feb. 18, 2011, www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20033452-503544.html.

39. Sofia Resnick, “Anti-Abortion Scholar: Restrictions Should Be Designed to Raise Costs for Women,” Mother Jones, Sept. 21, 2012, www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/anti-abortion-restrictions-raise-costs-women.

40. Eric Schulzke, “Texas at the forefront of national push on fetal pain legislation,” Deseret News, July 12, 2013, www.deseretnews.com/article/865583076/.

41. “H.R. 1797: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” GOP.gov, www.gop.gov/bill/113/1/hr1797.

42. Testimony of Maureen L. Condic, Ph.D., before the subcommittee of the Constitution and Civil Justice, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives,” May 23, 2013, http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/113th/05232013/Condic%2005232013.pdf.

43. Charles A. Donovan, “Better Reporting for Abortions,” New York Times, Jan. 21, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/opinion/better-reporting-for-abortions.html.

44. Charles A. Donovan and Nora Sullivan, “Abortion Reporting: Tears in the Fabric,” Charlotte Lozier Institute, Dec. 12, 2012, www.lozierinstitute.org/abortionreporting.

45. Ryan Bomberger, email exchange with author, May 3, 2013.

 

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Target Black Communities

This is an excerpt of an article originally published at Colorlines.

Last December, Care Net—the nation’s largest network of evangelical Christian crisis pregnancy centers—featured a birth announcement of sorts on the website of its 10-year-old Urban Initiative. Under the headline, “Plans Underway for Care Net’s Newest Center in Kansas City, Mo.!” a block of upbeat text described how a predominantly white, suburban nonprofit called Rachel House had “made contact” with “various African American pastors and community leaders,” who helped them “plant” a “pregnancy resource center” in a predominantly black, poor section of downtown Kansas City.

Evangelicals have long approached their anti-abortion work with missionary zeal. But over the past four years, national anti-abortion strategists have designated “urban” and “underserved” women and babies as a priority for saving. In practice, these terms tend to be euphemisms for “black” and, to a lesser extent, “Latina.”

Because crisis pregnancy centers are independently run and unregulated, it’s hard to say for sure how many there are in the United States. In a frequently cited 2010 report, the Family Research Council, a Christian right organizer and think tank, says there are more than 1,900 centers in the country affiliated with three major networks: Care Net, Heartbeat International and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates. An entire section of the report is devoted to the “urban” work of pregnancy centers. “The concentration of abortion facilities in urban, minority and poorer areas of the U.S. is well-known,” the report declares.

The “concentration” claim has already been thoroughly debunked, but many anti-abortion activists still believe deeply in it. It’s that belief, in part, that’s stirred outrage over the gruesome story of Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia clinic in recent weeks. Gosnell is being prosecuted for conducting illegal, dangerous late-term abortions, and rightwing pundits have argued that mainstream media ignored the story because it drew unflattering attention to abortion providers in poor, black neighborhoods. The implication is that anti-abortion activists care more about poor women of color than do the Planned Parenthoods of the world.

In its 2011 federal tax filing, Care Net reported spending nearly $1 million trying to “educate inner-city communities” and develop centers in “underserved areas.” In talking about this work, Care Net typically promotes North Philadelphia’s black-owned Hope Center as a model. But Rachel House offers a window into a different story, one that has unfolded in a series of headline-grabbing controversies over the past three years.

Fueled by a race-baiting, national marketing campaign and the missionary-like evangelism of its affiliates, Care Net has turned the complex reality behind black abortion rates into a single, fictional story. In that story, poor black women who have abortions are the unwitting victims of feminists and morally deficient reproductive healthcare providers, embodied in sadists such as Gosnell. Crisis pregnancy centers, in this fable, are the best place those women can go to be saved. Read More

Eradicating Hate Violence Needs Community Engagement

A Response to “Reconsidering Hate”

U.S. President Barack Obama applauds the sisters of James Byrd, Jr., Betty Byrd Boatner (2nd R) and Louvon Harris (2nd L), and the parents of Matthew Shepard, Judy Shepard (C) and Dennis Shepard (L) after Obama spoke in honor of the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act during a reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., October 28, 2009. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

The outrageous killings of James Byrd, Jr. and Matthew Shepard shine a light on the power of hatred fueled by racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of intolerance that are used to separate and divide us as human beings. Proponents of hate crime legislation and enhanced penalties for hate crimes want to make sure that killings and acts of violence like these provide an opportunity not only to hold accountable those responsible, but to expose and eradicate all violence based on bias, bigotry and prejudice. The goals underpinning this legislation deserve our defense: The lives of those who are often dehumanized, demonized, and marginalized should be valued. Everyone should be afforded protection by our system of justice. Those whose safety has been violated should be free of fear, and confident of redress. Most important, we should seize every opportunity to ensure that these crimes never happen again.

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Dipping into the Undercurrent

A Response to “Reconsidering Hate”

At the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, our mission is to eliminate race and national-origin discrimination through litigation, and community and legislative advocacy. Despite our narrowly focused mission we are always working collaboratively with community partners to advance an agenda that supports and affirms expansive hate crimes legislation.

After reading Kay Whitlock’s discussion paper I was moved by the manner in which she touched on the consistent acts of violence and aggression towards the “Other,” whoever that might be, throughout the history of this country. I think she did a good job of documenting that history, similar to Isabel Wilkerson’s book The Warmth of Other Suns, which tells the story of the Great Migration of African Americans leaving the oppression of the South only to be meet by the oppression in Northern cities, where groups of White people sought to protect their “entitlements” through threats and acts of violence.

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