Why Are “Free Market” Organizations Pouring Money Into Anti-Abortion Activism? The Koch Brothers.

What Women Really Think
Nov. 6 2013 11:24 AM

Why Are “Free Market” Organizations Pouring Money Into Anti-Abortion Activism? The Koch Brothers.

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Billionaire David Koch, all about freedom unless we're talking about women.

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Looks like we have the "libertarians" to thank in large part for the escalation of attacks on reproductive rights in recent years. Adele Stan at RH Reality Check reviewed the tax records of two major organizations linked to the "free market"-loving billionaires Charles and David Koch—the Center to Protect Patient Rights and Freedom Partners—and found that both are pouring millions of dollars into the movement to ban abortion and restrict contraception access. So-called libertarians are making it rain for those who want to take away women's basic liberties:

RH Reality Check, examining CPPR’s tax filings, confirmed reporting by NARAL Pro-Choice America and American Bridge that in 2010, it granted more than $1 million to the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, about half of the $2 million the group spent that year on advertising for anti-choice candidates and against pro-choice candidates in state and federal races across the country. The CPPR grant accounted for nearly 15 percent of the group’s overall revenues that year....
CPPR’s generosity to groups that push for laws restricting access to reproductive health care and limit women’s rights in pregnancy doesn’t end with the SBA List. In 2010, it provided Americans United for Life Action (AULA) with 39 percent of the group’s operating budget that year. It’s likely that the $559,000 AULA received from CPPR accounted for the $425,374 that it spent, according to AULA’s tax filing, on elections that year. CPPR also gave an additional $45,000 in 2010 to AULA’s sibling organization, Americans United for Life.
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Americans United for Life (AUL) is a major source of "model legislation" for politicians who want to strip abortion access. If you wonder why every state seems to be passing the same anti-choice laws, it's because AUL provides the template. Other anti-choice groups that are the beneficiaries of grants from CPPR and/or Freedom Partners: Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, Independent Women's Voice, and Nebraska Right to Life. These groups have played a role in pushing for Texas' draconian anti-abortion legislation, the attacks on mandatory contraception coverage in insurance plans, and Nebraska's 20-week abortion ban. 

CPPR's name has always been misleading. The group's main focus has been undermining Obamacare, so the only "patient right" they want to protect is your "right" to be unable to afford to be a patient if you get sick. The discovery that they also provide grants to anti-choice groups further exposes how broad the opposition to a better, fairer health care system is. Despite slogans about "keeping government out of health care," it seems these Koch-linked libertarian groups very much want to wield government's power to keep women from getting the health care they want and need. 

Freedom Partners plays a role in funding CPPR. Investigative reporting from Politico in September shows that Freedom Partners, which Politico called the Koch brothers' "secret bank," has given CPPR $115 million in the two years since it was formed. Americans for Job Security, another "free market" group with a name that doesn't reveal its socially conservative agenda, also provided CPPR with $11 million.

The common wisdom in politics has long held that there are two kinds of conservatives: libertarian-leaning "free market" conservatives and Bible-thumping social conservatives. As this reporting from RH Reality Check shows, the assumption that there's a meaningful difference between the two camps is collapsing. When it comes to ending women's liberty to control their own bodies, the libertarian branch of the conservative movement is helping lead the charge. 

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

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