RH Reality Check published an incredibly important investigation today by Adele Stan into the funding streams behind the recent glut of anti-choice legislation.
The upswing in attacks on reproductive rights in recent years has been no accident. It’s been a well organized, well fundeded effort that’s been made possible by other legislative and legal battles, including the Citizens United ruling.
To the untrained eye, it seemed that a sudden wildfire of anti-choice bills had engulfed the legislative agenda, but in truth the assault had been years, even decades, in the making. It wasn’t until three years ago, however, that conditions became so hospitable for the arsonists who trained their flame-throwers on these fundamental freedoms.
In 2010, three key events created the incendiary political landscape that fueled this summer’s inferno: the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down campaign finance restrictions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, elections at the state and federal levels that rode the winds of backlash against the 2008 election of Barack Obama, and the subsequent census-year victories of right-wing Republicans whose gains in state legislatures and governors’ mansions gave them control of the process for drawing legislative and congressional districts.
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.
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. Like the Kochs themselves, many of the donors in the brothers’ networks signal disinterest in fighting against women’s rights or LGBTQ rights, yet anti-choice groups have seen their coffers swell with millions of the network’s dollars.
Anti-choice efforts are very coordinated and funded, and we need the same kind of approach to stop them. Treating every attack on abortion access like an anomalous case puts us at a great disadvantage. Stan’s article addresses some of what needs to be done to change the tide on reproductive rights, like pro-choice candidates winning state-level office.
Jos Truitt is a total political strategy nerd.