March 12, 2019 Press Release

Radical Group Bankrolling Efforts to Criminalize Women in Latin American For Abortions

Virginia-based Human Life International is feeding money to criminalize reproductive health throughout region

03.12.19 – New reporting from CNN reveals that Human Life International (HLI) has funded efforts in Latin America to criminalize women for their reproductive health care decisions, including abortion. Today’s news comes on the heels of reporting from Salon and an IRS complaint alleging that HLI improperly funneled money in support of its anti-abortion efforts in the Philippines. Equity Forward has been tracking the activities of HLI for over a year and released a report earlier this year that delineates HLI’s efforts in countries around the world.

“It is deeply disturbing to see such a coordinated campaign of powerful and wealthy interests fueling laws that harm and imprison women in Mexico and across Latin America,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward. “Since poor women bear the brunt of these cruel and inhumane laws, this effort by well-funded U.S. interests is particularly sinister.”

“HLI is bankrolling real harm to women in Latin America by working to criminalize and jail women for their reproductive health.”

HLI, a nonprofit anti-abortion organization based in Front Royal, Virginia, says its goal is to “build a Culture of Life and of Love around the world through education, outreach, and advocacy.” However, the group has 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 also appears very likely that HLI is violating its 501(c)3 status by participating in election-related activities — also known as electioneering — overseas. The IRS complaint, which was filed in January by the nonprofit watchdog group Campaign for Accountability (CfA), noted that HLI failed to report lobbying expenditures and engaged in prohibited political activities in support of its anti-abortion advocacy efforts in the Philippines.

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, 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, which calls on Secretary Azar not to cut nearly $100 million in lifesaving research at the behest of the anti-abortion lobby.