In this first part of RH Reality Check‘s Women, Incarcerated series, we focus on one woman’s prison time—which involved a high-risk pregnancy, forced induced labor, and shackling—to illustrate the problems that thousands of women face behind bars.
“The IWF has never taken a stance on abortion,” executive director Sabrina Schaeffer wrote in an email to RH Reality Check. Certainly, that is IWF’s public position. But RHRC has found that the IWF’s behind-the-scenes relationship with anti-choice groups contradicts what its spokespeople say.
As state legislative sessions gear up for what could be one of the worst years on record for reproductive rights, anti-choice lawmakers across the country have in recent weeks filed barrages of laws that would restrict access to safe and legal abortion. Many of these laws are identical, or nearly so, to laws that have repeatedly failed in the same states where they are being reintroduced.
The emails show Texas’ key consultant putting words into the mouths of the state’s so-called expert witnesses, attempting to persuade them to selectively exclude data that did not match his anti-choice bias, and, in one case, walking extremely close to the line of outright ghostwriting what were supposed to be independent reports.
Why are states continuing to pass abortion restrictions based partly on erroneous theories that abortion harms women? And why are state attorneys general calling as expert witnesses some of the very people who proffered these spurious notions to state legislatures in the first place?
The issues might have changed, but the techniques now widely used by conservatives to distort science and, with it, public policy, remain the same.
Once a legislature accepts bogus facts, a larger problem can arise: Courts will frequently defer to the factual findings of state legislatures, which provides a gaping loophole for junk science to wend its way into judicial decisions all the way up to the Supreme Court.
Since 2010, Sean Fieler, a New Jersey-based hedge fund manager and fervent Catholic, has personally contributed nearly $18 million to political candidates and causes that align with his anti-choice, anti-LGBT, and pro-theocracy views, according to an analysis of tax filings and campaign finance records by RH Reality Check.
Many of the employers suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive benefit, including Wheaton College in Illinois, fail to offer employees robust parental leave coverage, an analysis by RH Reality Check shows.
A recent investigation by RH Reality Check demonstrates that Nebraska’s attorney general, like numerous others throughout the country, has particularly close relationships with extreme sections of the anti-choice movement, and that many extreme right-wing and fundamentalist Christian groups enjoy a high degree of access with government officials.