January 30, 2019 Press Release

Radical Group Accused of Improperly Funneling Money to Criminalize Women for Abortions Overseas

Virginia-based Human Life International is feeding money to anti-woman efforts overseas, according to new reporting and IRS complaint

1.30.19 – New reporting from Salon and an IRS complaint filed today by Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group, reveal that Human Life International (HLI) has been driving laws that harm and imprison women worldwide for their reproductive health care decisions. Equity Forward has been tracking the activities of HLI for a year, releasing a report today which delineates these efforts in countries around the world.

“HLI portrays itself as compassionate and uninterested in criminalizing women for their reproductive health care decisions, but these bombshell developments revealing their influence overseas tell a drastically different story. Their role in working to jail women in El Salvador, the Philippines and elsewhere cannot be ignored,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward.

“These are wealthy interests funneling millions of local dollars and tons of propaganda overseas to harm and imprison women worldwide.”

HLI, a nonprofit anti-abortion organization based in Front Royal, Virginia, claims to “build a Culture of Life and of Love around the world through education, outreach, and advocacy,” but the group has reportedly been engaging in a decades-long scheme to fund affiliate groups that try to criminalize reproductive health in foreign countries. Beyond harming women and communities across the world, it now appears very likely that HLI is also violating its 501(c)3 status by participating in election-related activities — also known as electioneering — overseas.

CfA’s complaint to the Internal Revenue Service notes that HLI failed to report lobbying expenditures and engaged in prohibited political activities in support of its anti-abortion advocacy efforts in the Philippines. Equity Forward’s report released today delineates HLI’s influence in the Philippines, where abortion has been criminalized for more than a century, noting that the organization has spent over $1 million in the country since 2000 and also specifically led the charge against the 2012 Reproductive Health Bill.

About Equity Forward

Equity Forward is a watchdog project that seeks to ensure transparency and accountability among anti-reproductive health groups and individuals. In addition to running HHSWatch.org, an extensive website with a library of research on nearly 50 political appointees at our nation's health department who are hostile to reproductive health care, Equity Forward also runs PutPeopleBeforePolitics.org, which calls on Secretary Azar not to cut nearly $100 million in lifesaving research at the behest of the anti-abortion lobby.