Investigations by the website RH Reality check and Politico found that a network of organizations headed by billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch has spent tens of millions of dollars funding the anti-choice movement.
Senior Washington correspondent Adele Stan wrote Tuesday that tax documents show Koch-directed “pro-business” groups threw their money and resources behind legislative initiatives designed to shut down women’s health clinics and deny women access to contraception, reproductive health services and abortions.
“There is little doubt that the rash of anti-choice measures that flooded the legislative dockets in state capitols in 2013 was a coordinated effort by anti-choice groups and major right-wing donors lurking anonymously behind the facades of the non-profit “social welfare” organizations unleashed to tear up the political landscape, thanks to the high court’s decision in Citizens United,” Stan wrote.
“Helping to drive the right-wing offensive in the states and in Congress is a network of deep-pocketed business titans convened by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, principals in Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held corporation in the United States,” she continued.
While the Kochs and their satellite groups profess to be interested more in business policy and deregulation than social issues, their true agenda is an all-out “war on women,” said RH Reality Check.
Politico detailed how the Koch network uses the shell company Freedom Partners as a clearinghouse. A bloc of around 200 donors give an average of $100,000 per year to Freedom Partners.
Freedom Partners awarded more than $236 million in grants to anti-choice groups and other far-right causes since its inception in November of 2011. The group’s outlay is second only to Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, which has awarded more than $300 million to conservative causes and politicians.
Among the groups who have been on the receiving end of Freedom Partners’ largess include the Center to Protect Patient Rights, a virulently anti-abortion and anti-Obamacare group; the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, a right-wing social pressure group; Generation Opportunity, a group that targets “Liberty-loving” young people and Americans for Prosperity, a think-tank and policy group that works closely with the Republican Party on the presidential nominating process.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Jodi Jacobson, President and Editor-in-Chief of RH Reality Check, said, “Over the past ten years, so-called pro-life groups and legislators such as Congressman Paul Ryan have increasingly been involved in efforts to deny women their rights while simultaneously shredding the social safety net on which the most vulnerable in this society depend. It is a marriage of ‘church and commerce’ not previously seen in the United States.”
“Now it is clear that the Koch brothers are pouring money into a policy agenda that recognizes both corporations and fertilized eggs as people, but not the personhood of women,” she continued.
Koch money is fueling pushes to close clinics and make abortions unobtainable in Texas, Ohio, North Carolina and Nebraska. The groups are also pushing for a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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