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Shannon Royce

Shannon Royce

Director, Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, Office of the Secretary

Shannon Royce is an inactive attorney with a long career of anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ policy work, including her promotion of conversion therapy. She has often pushed her extremist views under the guise of religious freedom. LifeSite News wrote that “Royce’s resume reads like a Who’s Who of the pro-family, pro-life movement in the nation’s capital [sic].”

HOW THEIR ROLE AFFECTS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

Since joining the Trump administration, Royce has been credited with spearheading a large outreach initiative to religious groups that started with a rulemaking process aimed at rolling back Obama-era protections for transgender patients and abortion access. She was also behind the decisions to strip the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) four-year strategic plan of any language referencing LGBT health and ensuring that the plan refers to conception as the beginning of life.

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT OF NOTE

Chief of Staff and COO, Family Research Council (a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group), 2015 – 2018

President and COO, ChosenFamilies.org, 2010 – 2018

Coalition Manager, Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition (a group dubbed by the Huffington Post as an “anti-gay Christian organization” whose primary mission is “to protect the ‘right’ of anti-gay Christians in the military to continue to discriminate against and harass LGBTQ service members”), 2013 – 2015

Executive Director, Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, 2009 – 2010

Executive Director, Arlington Group Coalition, where she “managed a coalition of over 70 organizations in support of the Marriage Protection Amendment”, 2004 – 2007

Director of Government Relations and Legislative Counsel, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, 1999 – 2003

Vice President, Of the People Foundation, a “small parental rights organization”, 1997 – 1999

Legislative Counsel, Sen. Charles Grassley, 1991 – 1997

Legislative Assistant, Sen. Slade Gordon, 1989 – 1991

Vice President for Legal Studies, Washington Legal Foundation, 1988 – 1989

TIES TO OTHER ANTI-CHOICE EXTREMISTS

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Royce formed a nonprofit organization, Chosenfamilies.org, “a non-profit, Biblical worldview ministry for families living with hidden disabilities such as Autism spectrum,” and SBA List president Dannenfelser is a board member.

Roger Severino:

Since joining the Trump Administration, Royce teamed up with OCR Director Roger Severino on projects such as a large outreach initiative to religious groups, asking how to better serve them, that started a rulemaking process aimed at rolling back Obama-era protections for trans patients and abortion access.

HIGHLIGHTS

Royce Believes That Life Begins At Conception, Language She Has Solidified In Government Documents:

“Royce successfully pushed for new language to be included to HHS’s most recent four-year plan – the first time the health department has formally declared that life begins at conception. Royce said of the change in January 2018, ‘In our strategic plan, we actually affirmed life from conception to natural death.’ She called the move ‘very significant.’” [Politico, 7/28/18]

Royce: HHS Team Is “Absolutely A Pro-Life Team”:

“‘One of the axioms of politics is that personnel is policy,’ Royce said last Thursday, appearing at the anti-abortion conference. ‘We have such an amazing team at HHS that is absolutely a pro-life team across the spectrum.’” [Politico, 1/22/18]

Royce Maintains An Active Twitter Account She Uses To Push Anti-Choice Legislation:

Royce actively tweets from her Twitter account, @jcnjmama. She has voiced her support for anti-abortion legislation, writing in 2015, “Join our call to protect the unborn from pain of abortion,” and “Please ask your Senator to support the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act #theyfeelpain #prolife”. In 2018, she tweeted, “Abortion is not #familyplanning”. A few months later, she wrote, “As a mother of two sons raised to respect and honor women, I am concerned by the extremes of the #metoo movement and the presumption that if a woman says it it must be true.”

THE WHOLE STORY

Shannon Royce Has Spent Decades Fighting Against LGBTQ Equality And Abortion Rights

Royce Is Widely Regarded As A High Profile Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Abortion Activist 

Royce Said She’d Been “Fighting For Pro-Life And Pro-Family Values For The Past Twenty-Five Years” And Criticized “Secular Environmentalism” For “Reducing Human Population.” “Mrs. Royce made the following statement: 'I've been fighting for pro-life and pro-family values for the past twenty-five years, and I am excited to continue that work with the Cornwall Alliance. Environmental stewardship and care for the poor are deeply Biblical issues, but secular environmentalism has increasingly set its sights on limiting development and reducing human population.'” [Cornwall Alliance Press Release, 4/21/09]

LifeSiteNews: “Royce’s Resume Reads Like A Who’s Who Of The Pro-Family, Pro-Life Movement In the Nation’s Capital [sic].” “Royce’s resume reads like a Who’s Who of the pro-family, pro-life movement in the nation’s capital [sic]. Most recently, she served as Chief of Staff and C.O.O. at the Family Research Council (FRC), managing day-to-day operations for a staff of 80. FRC’s stated mission is to promote 'a culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives.' It is the leading think tank in Washington opposing the LGBT activist movement.” [LifeSiteNews, 5/23/17]

Royce Started Her Career Working For The Conservative Christian Activist Group Concerned Women For America. “Royce grew up in Austin, Texas, the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, and her father helped impart many of the values she still holds today. After she graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene in 1982, Royce landed a job in San Diego with the conservative Christian activist group Concerned Women for America. She moved to Washington with the organization in 1984, and four years later began law school at George Washington University.” [National Journal, 5/1/15]     

Prior To HHS, Royce Spent Over Two Years As A Senior Staff Member At Anti-Abortion Advocacy Organization, The Family Research Council…

April 2015: Royce Was Hired As The Chief Of Staff & COO Of The Family Research Council. [Shannon Royce LinkedIn Page]

Royce Was The First Ever Chief Of Staff Of The Family Research Council, Working Under Tony Perkins To Oversee The Routine Operations Of The Organization And Its 85 Person Staff. “Shannon Royce is a marathon runner, but when I ask her how her new job is going, a different sort of track metaphor leaps to mind. 'It's like trying to mount Secretariat in the middle of a race,' she tells me. 'I'm still a little wobbly.' Earlier this month, Royce, 55, became the first ever chief of staff and chief operating officer of the Family Research Council, the Christian group that advocates for socially conservative policies. She now works under FRC President Tony Perkins to oversee the routine operations of the organization and its 85-person staff, as it carries out its mission 'to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview.'" [National Journal, 5/1/15]     

…Which Has Been Labeled As A Hate Group By The Southern Poverty Law Center

The Family Research Council Has Been Labeled A Hate Group By The Southern Poverty Law Center. [The Southern Poverty Law Center]

The Family Research Council Congratulated Shannon For The Appointment To HHS, Saying She Would “Use Her Talents To Advance The Pro-Life Message In The Trump Administration.” “Shannon's new job, Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will give her an opportunity to use her vast coalition-building experience in defense of solid health care policy. We couldn't be happier to see her use her talents to advance the pro-life message in the Trump administration. Please join us in congratulating Shannon and Ken!” [Family Research Council, 5/16/17]

Royce Has Been Vociferously Intolerant Of LGBTQ Americans & Appeared To Support Conversion Therapy

Royce Said Media Coverage Of Gays Marrying “Was A Slap In The Face” To Everything Americans Believed. “MARGARET WARNER: How much of it, Ms. Royce, do you think was triggered by all the media coverage we had in the last few months of gay couples getting married? SHANNON ROYCE: I think that ended up being very helpful to us. The American people saw this. It was a slap in the face to everything that they believed, at least the vast majority of them believed that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that there can be other legal arrangements if states want to allow those, but that doesn’t mean we have to allow marriage to be redefined.” [NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 11/8/04]

Royce Said That “The American People Don’t See Civil Unions And Homosexual Partnerships The Way They See Husband-Wife Relationships.” SHANNON ROYCE: Oh, I would say that the American people don’t see civil unions and homosexual partnerships the way they see husband-wife relationships. [NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 11/8/04]

Royce, As Executive Director Of The Marriage Amendment Project, Said That “The Ex-Gay Movement Is A Very Important Part Of The Story.” "But for both the national leaders on the anti-gay-marriage front and Christian community activists, ‘ex-gay' and 'gay marriage' are closely connected, the first being the antidote to the second. Shannon Royce, the executive director of the Marriage Amendment Project, advised me explicitly: 'The ex-gay movement is a very important part of the story.'’’ [New York Times, 6/19/05]

At HHS, Royce Is Focused Solely On The Needs Of Evangelicals

Royce’s Work At HHS Centers Only On Christians, Rather Than Obtaining A Plethora Of Religious Voices Like It Has Previously…

Royce’s Staff Accused Her Of Turning Her Multi-Faith Partnership Office Into A “Christian-Based Partnership Center.” “But inside HHS, staff say that those leaders are steering their offices to support evangelicals at the expense of other voices, such as a recent decision to selectively post public comments that were overwhelmingly anti-abortion. 'It’s supposed to be the faith-based partnership center, not the Christian-based partnership center,' said a longtime HHS staffer, referencing the HHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships led by Royce.” [Politico, 1/22/18]

Royce Was Accused Of Secretly Soliciting Comments For Regulations To Rollback Protections For Vulnerable Patients At The Behest Of Religious Conservatives…

Royce Asked Religious Groups How To “Serve Them Better,” Which Resulted In An Effort To Rollback Protections For Transgender Patients And Abortion Healthcare. “The agency's devout Christian leaders have set in motion changes with short-term symbolism and long-term significance. One of those moves — a vast outreach initiative to religious groups spearheaded by Royce, asking how to serve them better… That outreach initiative began a rulemaking process that could culminate in a rollback of Obama-era protections for transgender patients and allowing health providers more protections to deny procedures like abortion. It worried abortion rights and LGBT advocates, who acknowledge that while abortion laws and other regulations remain mostly intact, the groundwork is steadily being laid to revise them.…” [Politico, 1/22/18]

Royce’s Staff Accused Her Of Being Extremely Secretive While Working To Rollback Protections For Transgender Patients And Abortion Healthcare. “The October effort surprised Royce's own staff, many of whom weren't aware that the center's request for information — a key tool in rulemaking that lets agencies solicit comments that they can use to revise or introduce regulations — was even being developed until it was publicly posted. The reason: Royce, the center's director, didn't tell them. 'Shannon put it together with Roger Severino and jammed it out the door,' said one staffer, who noted that the center had never issued a request for information before. 'We were messaging each other — "did our office just put out an RFI?"'” [Politico, 1/22/18]

…And Royce “Sparked Controversy” By Posting Only Anti-Abortion Comments

Royce’s Office Only Posted Supportive, Anti-Abortion Comments On The Regulatory Rollbacks. “Royce’s partnership center has sparked controversy with how it handled its request for information. POLITICO in December reported that the center was deliberately withholding thousands of critical comments of its plan while posting just 80 comments, overwhelmingly from anti-abortion and evangelical respondents who called on HHS to roll back protections related to abortion and transgender care. (The center released the missing 12,000-plus comments four days after POLITICO's story.)” [Politico, 1/22/18]