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Pam Pryor

Acting Assistant Secretary for International Organizations, State Department; Delegation Member, UN CSW

Pam Pryor has an established career in right-wing politics, championing anti-abortion leaders. Pryor believes religious freedom is under “global threat.” She is credited with fine-tuning President Trump’s campaign to appeal to evangelical voters during his 2016 presidential campaign, and continued to ensure the influence of far right-wing leaders on the Trump administration.

HOW THEIR ROLE AFFECTS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE

Pryor started as senior advisor on global justice issues at the State Department in 2017. Her work at State has emphasized international religious freedom; she reportedly vetted candidates for ambassador at large for religious freedom—a role that ultimately went to extremist Sam Brownback. Pryor had a hand in giving C-FAM delegation status at the Commission on the Status of Women, which she attended as part of the U.S. delegation working to roll back reproductive rights on the world stage.

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT OF NOTE

Office of the Secretary, State Department, Special Advisor to Transition, 2017

Trump Administration Evangelical Advisory Board, Main Contact, 2016–Present

Trump Transition Team, Outreach Director, 2016–2017

Donald Trump Presidential Campaign, Director, 2016

Freedom Partners (the political organization funded by the Koch brothers), Trees of Liberty, Chairperson, 2014–15

SarahPAC (Sarah Palin’s Political Action Committee), Spokesperson, 2009–16

Republican National Committee, Liaison to the McCain-Palin presidential campaign, 2008

White House Writer’s Group (a communication firm), Associate Manager, 2003–2009

  • Convoy of Hope, a faith-based humanitarian organization, Consultant 
  • Department of Labor, Consultant

Representative J.C. Watts (OK – R), various positions, 1995–2003

  • Press Secretary
  • Chief of Staff

TIES TO OTHER ANTI-CHOICE EXTREMISTS

Penny Nance: Pryor and Penny Nance, head of an extremist anti-abortion organization, Concerned Women For America, are “longtime friends” who worked together in an “Evangelical Women for Donald Trump” group. Nance is an anti-transgender, anti-LGBTQ rights ideologue who said the Boy Scouts’ admittance of gay troop leaders “puts our young sons at risk.” She claimed the Equal Rights Amendment “is about taxpayer-funded abortion” and uses her organization to influence legislation with her bigoted views.

Bethany Kozma: Pryor and Bethany Kozma, USAID Senior Advisor for Women’s Empowerment, have worked together on the U.S. delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women. Kozma is an anti-transgender ideologue. She waged a campaign against her local school board, spreading the fear-mongering, unsubstantiated claim that allowing children to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity would put them in harm’s way of sexual predators. In addition, Kozma is staunchly anti-abortion

Austin Ruse: Pryor has a documented history of working with Austin Ruse, president of C-FAM, to roll back reproductive rights at the United Nations. C-FAM an anti-LGBTQ, Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group. Ruse has a history of making bigoted remarks: he wrote there is “no evidence that transgenderism is a real thing,” and children who are “raised by same-sex couples [are] twice as likely to be depressed, fat adults.” 

James Dobson: Pryor served as the Trump administration’s main point of contact for the Evangelical Advisory Board, comprised of extremists including James Dobson, founder of noted hate groups Alliance Defending Freedom, Focus on The Family, and Family Research Council. Pryor also has ties to the conservative evangelical Church of Nazarene, of which Dobson is a member. Dobson is perhaps best known as leader and public face of Focus On The Family. Dobson has proclaimed the patriarchy is god’s will, said Spongebob Squarepants was “pro-gay” propaganda, and personally advocated for fathers to show their sons their penises to prevent them from “becoming gay.” Since leaving Focus On The Family, Dobson blamed the Sandy Hook shooting on legalized abortion and LGBTQ rights, called immigrants “violent criminals,” and recorded a radio ad endorsing alleged pedophile Roy Moore for the U.S. Senate.

HIGHLIGHTS

In Her Role At The State Department, Pryor Has Worked Directly With Extremists Including Austin Ruse Of The Noted Hate Group, C-FAM — And Was Involved In Securing C-FAM Delegation Status At The UN CSW

At The Beginning Of The Trump Administration, C-FAM’s Austin Ruse Wrote The State Department Complaining About Underrepresentation Of Anti-Abortion Groups At International Conferences… “Once Trump took office, however, Ruse became an insider, able to command attention from top state department officials. In March 2017, he wrote to the head of the state department’s powerful policy planning unit, Brian Hook, and other senior political appointees at the agency, complaining that only one anti-abortion group was part of the US delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that year. Ruse wrote. ‘We believe the problem here is that Laurie Shestack Phipps is in charge of this, and, while she is a career person, it is our belief, even under the Bush administration, that she is not with the administration on these important issues.’” [The Guardian, 5/16/19]

…Pryor Immediately Responded To Ruse Writing That She Shared His Concerns… “Pam Pryor, a former aide to Sarah Palin, who had been given a senior adviser job in the state department office of civilian security, democracy and human rights, wrote back to Ruse a little over an hour later, saying: ‘I share your concern about the folks in charge. I can check out Ms Shestack Phipps, though, and get back to you. Thank you for caring about this with us!’” [The Guardian, 5/16/19]

…C-FAM Was Then Invited To Be A Part Of The Official U.S. Delegation To The 2017 CSW Conference. “C-Fam was subsequently made part of the official US delegation to the 2017 CSW conference, and sent a delegate who sat at Phipps’ side throughout the event, taking notes.” [The Guardian, 5/16/19]

  • C-FAM Is A Hate Group That Opposes The Existence Of Sexual Or Gender Diversity Existing Beyond Biblical Heteronormative Binary. “Thus, the mere mention of the existence of sexual or gender diversity cuts against the dogma of conservative Christians like those running C-FAM. Remember, this isn’t some kind of international campaign against homophobia: This is about whether to investigate SOGI-based violence at all. But if SOGI-based violence exists, then SO and GI might be a thing—and that is the ‘catastrophe.’ C-FAM’s pitch letter went further, though, saying that ‘It has been the long-term project of the sexual revolutionaries to undermine the teachings of the church and to impose a new sexual orthodoxy on the whole world. The new sexual orthodoxy is nothing more than a new religion celebrating a new god, an angry god, a jealous god.’” [The Daily Beast, 4/13/17]

  • C-FAM President Austin Ruse wrote an article denying that people can be born LGBTQ, claiming “homosexuality’s origin is psychological.” “James Martin SJ says God made them same-sex attracted, that ‘God does not make junk.’ Martin has no basis upon which to claim that same-sex attraction is inborn. Science does not show this and never has. In fact, the clear teaching of the Church, in the universal Catechism, is that homosexuality’s origin is psychological. Sometimes a psychological compulsion may feel inborn but that does not make it so.” [Crisis Magazine, 9/15/17]

 

Pryor Has Tweeted That “Killing Unborn Baby Girls Is A Horrific Assault” 

In 2016, Pryor Tweeted To Hillary Rodham Clinton That “Killing Unborn Baby Girls Is A Horrific Assault.”

[Twitter, Pam Pryor, 10/19/16]

 

Pryor Also Took To Social Media To Express Her Support For Donald Trump During The 2016 Election, Writing That He Was The “Only Choice” To “Protect Life”

Pryor Tweeted In 2016, “Once More – Supreme Court, 300 Judges, 4K Appointees, Protect Life And Religious Liberty – Only One Choice: @realDonaldTrump.”

 

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[Twitter, Pam Pryor, 10/9/16]

THE WHOLE STORY

Pryor Was Hired At The State Department Early In The Trump Administration After Leading Faith And Christian Outreach On His Campaign

Pryor Was Hired At The State Department To Focus On International Religious Freedom Issues 

Pryor, Who Is “Credited With Smoothing Over Donald Trump’s Relations With Evangelical Christians,” Began Working In The State Department In Early 2017. “The woman credited with smoothing over Donald Trump’s relations with evangelical Christians and shaping the image of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has snagged a job at the State Department, Foreign Policy has learned… Pam Pryor, the Trump campaign’s leader of “faith and Christian outreach” is vetting personnel and coordinating policy issues … according to two officials who spotted Pryor in her new digs.” [Foreign Policy, 2/9/17]

Pryor’s Early Responsibilities At The State Department Reportedly Included Vetting Candidates For The Ambassador-At-Large For International Religious Freedom Position. “A State Department spokesperson declined to outline Pryor’s responsibilities, but a separate source familiar with her activities said she’s been vetting candidates for the job of ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.” [Foreign Policy, 2/9/17]

In Her Role At The State Department, Pryor Has Been A Member Of The U.S. Delegation To The Commission On The Status Of Women (CSW) Attempting To Roll Back Reproductive Rights On The World Stage 

Pryor Was A Member Of The U.S. Delegation To CSW In 2019, Which Has Aggressively Tried To Cut Back On References To Reproductive Rights And Gender  

In 2019, Pryor Was Among Those Representing The United States At The Annual CSW Conference. “On March 12, that plan changed, and the US mission to the UN announced that [Cherith] Norman Chalet was in charge of the delegation. Courtney Nemroff, acting Representative of the US to the Economic and Social Council of the UN, is deputy head. Besides Kozma of Usaid, other members of the US delegation include, per information provided by a nongovernmental organization and not confirmed by the US mission: Valerie Huber, senior adviser in the office of Global Affairs and US Health and Human Services; Pam Pryor, senior political adviser in the Office of Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, State Department; Michelle Bekkering from Usaid; Kathy Wills Wright, deputy assistant secretary at the State Department; and Katie Sullivan, acting director of the US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.” [PassBlue, 3/7/19]

At The 2019 CSW, The U.S. Delegation Tried To Remove The Word “Gender” From The Conference’s Outcome Document

In A Threat To International Agreements On Women’s Rights, U.S. Officials Tried To Remove The Word “Gender” From UN Documents At The 2019 CSW. “US officials in New York are attempting to water down language and remove the word “gender” from documents being negotiated at the UN, in what is being seen as a threat to international agreements on women’s rights. In negotiations at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which resume at UN headquarters this week, the US wants to replace ‘gender’ in the forum’s outcome document with references only to women and girls.” [The Guardian, 3/18/19]

  • “The Move Follows Similar Attempts By The US Last Year To Change Language In Documents Before The UN Human Rights Council.” [The Guardian, 3/18/19]

  • “The Guardian Understands The U.S. Also Wants References To Migration And Climate Change Completely Removed From The CSW Document.” [The Guardian, 3/18/19]

Also At The 2019 CSW, The United States Delegation Refused To Reaffirm Its Commitment To The Landmark Beijing Agreement, The “Blueprint For Global Women’s Rights”

Pryor And Other Delegation Members Refused To Reaffirm The Agreement Used By Activists Globally To Hold Governments Accountable With Regard To Women’s Rights. “In draft documents, seen by the Guardian, the US is taking a step further at CSW by refusing to reaffirm the country’s commitment to the landmark Beijing declaration and platform for action, agreed at the fourth world conference of women held in 1995. The Beijing agreement is regarded as the blueprint for global women’s rights. Although it is not legally binding, the document is used widely by activists to hold their governments to account on policy related to women.” [The Guardian, 3/18/19]

Pryor’s Delegation To The CSW Has Increasingly Aligned Itself With Countries With Poor Human Rights Records, Alienated Others With Its Aggressive “Anti-Gender, Anti-Woman Position”

Under Leadership Of Extremists Like Pryor, The US Delegation Has Aligned Themselves More And More With Countries Like Iran, Saudi Arabia, And Russia — Which “Consistently Seek To Undermine Agreements” Related To Women’s And Reproductive Rights At The UN. “Under the Trump administration, US negotiators have found themselves more aligned with countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia than European nations. These countries consistently seek to undermine agreements on women’s rights at the UN, specifically around reproductive health and rights. This year’s US delegation includes Valerie Huber, a proponent of abstinence-only sex education and now a senior policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services, and Bethany Kozma, an anti-choice activist and senior advisor for women’s empowerment at the US Agency for International Development.” [The Guardian, 3/18/19]

Advocates Including The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) Have Been Dismayed By The U.S. Delegation’s Entry To CSW Negotiations, Which Have Been “Very Aggressive And… Advances An Anti-Gender, Anti-Woman Position From The Very Start.” Shannon Kowalski, director of advocacy and policy at the International Women’s Health Coalition, said: “They [the US] are coming into the negotiations in a way that is very aggressive and that advances an anti-gender, anti-woman position from the very start. [The Guardian, 3/18/19]

  • IWHC: The US Delegation Is Trying To Downplay The Political Importance Of Agreements Like Beijing And Weaken Commitments Overall. “One of the first things they have tried to do is block reaffirmation of Beijing and subsequent documents … trying to downplay the political importance of this document as setting out the vision for women’s human rights. They are trying to weaken commitments to that overall.” [The Guardian, 3/18/19]

The Trump Campaign Hired Pryor To Lead Its Faith And Christian Outreach Effort — A Move That Is Considered To Have Helped Him Win The Election

In 2016, The Trump Campaign Hired Pryor to Oversee All Efforts Aimed At Attracting Religious Voters. “Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin once said that God, not people, elect U.S. presidents. But as Palin’s former spokeswoman Pam Pryor knows, sometimes God needs a little help. That’s why the Trump campaign announced today that it has hired Pryor to lead its faith and Christian outreach effort. According to the Trump aide Alan Cobb, she will oversee communications, social media, events, and other efforts aimed at attracting religious voters.” [The Atlantic, 8/18/16

The Atlantic: “Pryor Represents A Push To Create The Infrastructure Necessary To Win Support Among Religious Voters.” “Someone in the Trump camp must be paying attention to these struggles—Pryor appears to be an effort to fix these problems. Along with several other recent hires in what has been called a campaign shakeup, Pryor represents a push to create the infrastructure necessary to win support among religious voters.” [The Atlantic, 8/18/16]

Pryor Had Ties To The Conservative Evangelical Church Of Nazarene 

Members Of Pryor’s Church Include Focus On The Family’s Founder, James Dobson. “Pryor has ties to the Church of the Nazarene, a conservative evangelical denomination whose members include the Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.” [The Atlantic, 8/18/16]

Pryor Served As The Main Contact For Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board During His Campaign, A Role She Continued To Occupy On Trump’s Transition Team And Into The Beginning Of The Administration

Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board — Is Comprised Of Many Other Religious Right-Wing Extremists — Helped Trump Through His Campaign, Transition, And After Inauguration Day

The Evangelical Advisory Board Was Reported To Continue Its Work After Trump’s Inauguration. “The evangelical advisory board assembled by President-elect Donald Trump in the run-up to his election has continued to advise him and his transition team, according to Politico, and will apparently keep doing so after Inauguration Day.” [LGBTQ Nation, 12/8/16]

  • The Board Is “Chock-Full Of Religious Right-Wing Christian Extremists.” “The panel, as reported by Right Wing Watch, is chock-full of religious right-wing Christian extremists, including Michele Bachmann, James Dobson, Ralph Reed, James Robison, Robert Jeffress, Jerry Falwell, Jr. among several others.” [LGBTQ Nation, 12/8/16]

Members Of The Evangelical Advisory Board Continued Holding Weekly Conference Calls With The Trump Administration After The Election — Calls Facilitated By Pryor

Pryor Led The Board’s Weekly Calls With The Administration. “The first sign that these leaders will continue to have influence after helping him win: He is keeping intact his evangelical advisory board, according to several members of the group, who say that there continues to be a weekly conference call, facilitated by Pam Pryor, a member of Trump’s transition team with a background in conservative politics, including a stint with Sarah Palin. She was not made available for an interview, and the Trump transition team didn’t respond to detailed requests for comment.” [Politico, 12/7/16]

The Evangelical Board Has Enjoyed Incredible, Unprecedented Access To And Influence Over Trump

The Evangelical Board’s Access To Trump Has Been So Great That Members Rejoiced They Could Share Messages From God Directly To The President. “Their personal access to Trump was so great, board member Kenneth Copeland rejoiced on election night that, for the first time in his life, he’ll now be able to share messages from God directly with the president of the United States.” [LGBTQ Nation, 12/8/16]

Trump Reportedly Told His Staff That He Wanted To Keep The Board Intact — An Unprecedented Move That Took Evangelical Leaders by Surprise. “‘Mr. Trump evidently told his staff he wanted to keep the advisory board intact, he wanted us to continue to meet, to give him advice, and I will tell you, I have been surprised at the level to which the transition team has solicited our input on personnel,’ said Richard Land, a longtime leader in Southern Baptist politics, who said top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway has also checked in with the group since the election.” [Politico, 12/7/16]

Trump Transition Team Members Reportedly Asked Members Of The Evangelical Boards To Provide Names For The Administration — Influence Credited To Pryor

The Evangelical Board Was Asked For Input In Staffing Trump’s Administration. “Members of the board are already making plans to be in Washington for the National Prayer Breakfast, slated for Feb. 2 — less than two weeks after Trump’s inauguration, and likely the first high-profile faith event of Trump’s presidency. There are discussions underway for the board to meet in person in Washington. And they have already been asked by the transition team to provide names for key slots in the administration, including for faith-based offices.” [Politico, 12/7/16]

Evangelical Leaders Credited Their Influence Over Trump Directly To Pryor. “‘I will say, having been involved with administrations from Reagan’s forward, this is the most solicitous that any incoming administration has been for input from evangelicals concerning personnel decisions that I’ve experienced,’ Land said, going on to add, ‘It’s come from Pam’s office, and she has said, ‘He’s very grateful for the faith community, he wants your input.’ That didn’t even happen under George W. Bush. They were willing to take our recommendations, but they didn’t actively solicit them three times before inauguration.’” [Politico, 12/7/16]

Pryor’s Tenure With The Trump Administration Is Preceded By A Career In Conservative Politics, Most Notably Her Work For Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Who Has Been Called An “Anti-Abortion Star”

Pryor’s “Real Catapult Into The National Spotlight” Came When Palin Appointed Her As Spokesperson For Her PAC

Pryor Has Been Referred To As Sarah Palin’s “Go-To Girl.” “Pryor’s real catapult into the national spotlight came when she was appointed spokesperson for Sarah Palin’s Political-Action Committee. A member of the Palin team referred to Pryor as Palin’s ‘go-to girl’ during the 2008 election, according to Tulsa Today. ‘If Sarah has a doubt about anything, she talks to Pam. If Sarah wants to do something, she talks to Pam. Pam is a solid lock in Palin’s future.’” [The Atlantic, 8/28/16]

Pryor’s Work For Palin Has Been Credited With Making The Former Governor A Continued Influential Conservative Voice — Which Palin Used To Endorse Donald Trump. “The goal of the PAC under Pryor was helping the former Alaskan governor “continue to be a strong voice for energy independence and reform.” Her work contributed to making Governor Palin an influential voice in some conservative circles. Pryor later served as a national policy advisor to Palin, who endorsed Trump in January.” [The Atlantic, 8/28/16]

Pryor Worked For Palin When The Former Governor Was Reconstructing Her Image To That Of “Anti-Abortion Star”

Politico, HEADLINE: “Palin, Anti-Abortion Star.” [Politico, 12/4/09]

Palin’s Public Image Increasingly Centered Around Her Disabled Son In Attempts To Cast Her As A Leading Figure Of The Anti-Abortion Movement. “In the months since she returned to the public spotlight, Sarah Palin’s continually evolving political identity has undergone a subtle change as her public persona centers increasingly on her disabled son, Trig. Palin began her political career as a reformer breaking up Alaska’s corrupt boys club and shifted seamlessly into last fall’s campaign trail culture warrior. But her decision to carry to term her Down syndrome child established a special relationship with anti-abortion activists, and now Palin has transformed herself from a politician who was anti-abortion into the leading figure of the anti-abortion movement.” [Politico, 12/4/09]

Palin’s Anti-Abortion Advocacy Has Been Praised By Anti-Abortion Extremist Marjorie Dannenfelser

Marjorie Dannenfelser, President Of Anti-Abortion Extremist Group SBAList, Has Heaped Praise On Palin. “‘You just can’t escape it — she really is cut from a completely different cloth than most men, but also women, in politics,’ said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which supports anti-abortion candidates. ‘She had the audacity in the eyes of the abortion rights world to actually have this child and then has the audacity to bring him along with her and feature him as a centrally valued person in their family.’” [Politico, 12/4/09]

Palin Has Written That She Is “Thankful For Right-To-Life Groups That Affirm The Value Of The Child”

Palin Is Considered An “Unequaled Spokeswoman” For Antis Like Dannenfelser In Large Part Due To Her Decision To Keep Her Child — A Decision, Palin Writes, Was Influenced By “Right-To-Life Groups.” “For Dannenfelser, Palin is an unequaled spokeswoman not only because she’s perceived to be under assault but because her story can bring in women who are on the fence. In her book, Palin writes that twice she considered abortion, if only ‘for a split second.’ ‘It was a fleeting thought, a sudden understanding of why many women feel pressured to make the ‘problem’ go away,’ Palin wrote. ‘I knew, though, what goes through a woman’s mind when she finds herself in a difficult situation. At that moment, I was thankful for right-to-life groups that affirm the value of the child.’” [Politico, 12/4/09]

Pryor Began Her Career In Politics Working For Former Representative J.C. Watts, An Anti-Abortion Politician Who Referred To Black Political Leaders As “Race-Hustling Poverty Pimps”

Pryor Worked For Republican Representative J.C. Watts Of Oklahoma As His Press Secretary And Chief Of Staff. “In 1995, Republican Representative J.C. Watts of Oklahoma hired Pryor as his press secretary and later promoted her to chief of staff.” [The Atlantic, 8/18/16]

Watts Has Called Some Black Political Leaders “Race-Hustling Poverty Pimps.” “Watts was a part of the 1994 Republican Revolution when the GOP won control of the House for the first time in four decades. As the sole black Republican in Congress, Watts was often a divisive figure on matters of race. Prior to delivering the Republican response to President Clinton’s 1997 State of the Union address, Watts referred to some black political leaders as ‘race-hustling poverty pimps.’” [The Atlantic, 8/18/16]

Watts Is Well-Known For His Opposition To Abortion, Which He Has Compared To Slavery. “Now, former republican congressman Julius Caesar “J.C.” Watts Jr flies in to be a special guest at one of KJ’s swanky fundraisers.  The former Oklahoma GOP star is well known for his opposition to abortion (he once compared it to slavery), and stem cell research, and his support of school voucher programs.”  [Sacramento News & Review, 10/31/08]

Pryor, Once Named One Of The 100 Most Powerful Women In DC, Has Held A Myriad Of Other Reight-Wing Political Jobs

Pryor Was Named One Of The 100 Most Powerful Women In DC By Washingtonian Magazine In 2001. “Working under Watts earned Pryor recognition inside the Beltway, and in 2001, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in D.C. by Washingtonian magazine.” [The Atlantic, 8/18/16]

Pryor Has Formerly Worked For The RNC, As Well As Organizations Funded By The Koch Brothers. “In between and during these stints, Pryor has spent time with a host of other political groups and non-profits… Pryor was formerly a senior advisor for the Republican National Committee, where she served as a liaison to the McCain presidential campaign. And she has long worked for Freedom Partners, an organization funded by the Koch brothers.” [The Atlantic, 8/28/16]

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Connections

State Department Office of Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights

U.S. Delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)