The Abortion Lobby's Deep Pockets

Brian Clowes
© by Brian Clowes
Spring 2008
Reproduced with Permission

January 2008 marked the 35th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the United States. Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton have cost nearly 50 million lives and have grossly deformed the practice of both law and medicine in this country. Pro-abortionists have made their greatest gains - not only in the U.S., but all over the world - by claiming victim status, in three ways: First, they claim that thousands of women used to die annually due to complications caused by illegal abortions - a lie long ago exposed by reformed abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson.1 Second, they say that violent pro-lifers are brutalizing them - but if you take a few minutes to visit the website you'll see what a hoax that is. Third and finally, they complain that they are being oppressed by rich, lavishly funded anti-choice groups.

Unfortunately, this third falsehood has been allowed to stand, primarily because there are so many different pro-life and pro-abortion groups in the U.S. that it is very difficult to pin down the truth of this matter without a detailed examination of the financial records. The purpose of this article is to clarify and define the amount of income generated by groups on both sides of the abortion debate - and to lay this claim to rest once and for all.


The author of this article downloaded and examined 15,524 IRS Forms 990 in order to determine just how much income is generated annually by nonprofit groups that support the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death.2 The last year that these Forms 990 are generally available for this kind of research was 2006, so that is the base year we will use in this analysis.

The most logical way to examine this question is to look at three different matchups: first, single-issue pro-life vs. single-issue pro-abortion and "family planning" groups; second, pro-family vs. anti-family groups; third and finally, the international population-control movement vs. those opposing it.

Single-Issue Pro-Life vs. Pro-Abortion Groups

Non-profit pro-life groups raised about $551 million in 2006. About eighty-four percent of this, or $461 million, was generated by the approximately 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the U.S. Most of these CPCs work under the umbrella organizations Birthright, Heartbeat International, and Care Net. Their average income was about $154,650 in 2006.3

Number one on the pro-abortion moneymaking list, of course, is the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), which made more than twice as much money in 2006 as every pro-life group in the country combined - $1.12 billion.4 204 of PPFA's affiliates generated significant income in 2006, including 30 that had incomes of $10 million or more.5

Planned Parenthood is apparently embarking on a program to crowd out its competitors, because its share of surgical abortions committed in the U.S. has risen from 1.6 percent (12,000 abortions) in 1973 to a staggering 22 percent (275,000 abortions) in 2006. In fact, Planned Parenthood has committed 4.7 million surgical abortions in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade.6

Nine Planned Parenthood affiliates have a greater income than the leading pro-life fundraiser, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), and 35 have a greater income than the second-ranked pro-life moneymaker, Priests for Life.

The great advantage these groups have over pro-life organizations is that they have tangible and popular products to sell. Most people have been conditioned to think that contraception is essential for their "modern" lifestyles, and that abortion must remain available in those regrettable cases when birth control fails. Meanwhile, it is very difficult for pro-life and profamily organizations to sell values and virtue to a world that is fixated on self-gratification. Even when we do manage to get our point of view across, there is little monetary profit in doing so.

The pro-abortionists and "family planners" have a triple-tiered, interlocking moneymaking system that would make the most corrupt used-car salesman drool with envy. To begin with, sex educators sell our children on the idea that sexual activity is permissible and even inevitable - just as long as they practice "safe(r) sex" and use condoms or some other form of birth control. Then the "family planners" sell birth-control devices to support the sexual activities recommended by the sex educators. Finally, when these birth-control methods fail (as they do more than 2 million times per year in the U.S.), the "family planners" stand ready to provide abortion, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and more contraception, which in turn leads to even more abortion business.

The amount of money generated by the "family planning" consortium in the U.S. exceeds $9 billion per year.

About 16.8 million schoolchildren in the U.S. receive comprehensive sex education at an average cost of $38.80 per child per year, for a total of $650 million.

Nearly 22 million women use abortifacient or contraceptive methods of birth control each year, generating a 2006 income of $4.97 billion.

The abortionists performed 1,198,000 surgical abortions and 70,000 medical abortions in 2006, for an income of $881 million.

And the "family planners" performed 700,000 tubal ligations and 500,000 vasectomies in 2006, for a total income of about $2.59 billion.7

Thus, the "family planners" generated a total direct income of $9. !billion in 2006 in the U.S. alone.

If we add the $107 million received by other pro-abortion advocacy organizations (those that did not provide the above services), we arrive at a total 2006 income of about $9.2 billion.8

If we compare this to the $551 million raised by pro-life organizations in the same year, we can see that the single-purpose pro-abortion groups outraised the single-purpose pro-life organizations by a ratio of 17 to one in 2006.

Pro-Family vs. Anti-Family

Many well-funded interests are advancing an anti-family agenda - "gay rights," gambling, drinking, drugs, pornography, no-fault divorce, and so on. For the purposes of this study, anti-family organizations are defined as those that promote any activity or product that tends to damage or warp the natural relationship between men and women or undermines and debilitates what we call the "traditional nuclear family."

Gay-activist groups raised $376 million in 2006.

Pro-euthanasia organizations raised $6 million.

Groups attempting to undermine and subvert the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church regarding sexual morality raised $77 million.

This makes for a total of $459 million for anti-family advocacy groups.

But once again we have to take into account the products and services that the groups sell to the public. These fall into two primary categories: The pornography industry sells a minimum of $13.3 billion in filthy books, movies, and other products.9 And prostitution generates about $8 billion in income annually.10

We should not lose hope, because there are powerful and well-organized interests standing up for the rights of the family. Non-profit pro-family organizations raised a total of about $6 billion in 2006.11 But we can see from the above that anti-family groups and activities raised about $34.2 billion versus $6 billion for pro-family groups, for a ratio of about 6 to 1.

Population Control Organizations

Nowhere is the struggle between life and death more unequal than it is on the international frontier. Population Action International (PAI) estimates that funding for population assistance in 2006 was about $7.784 billion.12 Population-control groups use this money to generate massive propaganda campaigns, set up sterilization camps and quotas, dump billions of condoms and birth-control devices on Asian, Latin American, and African countries, and lobby for legalized abortion worldwide.

There are only four U.S.-based organizations that oppose international population funding, with a combined income of $6.8 million: Human Life International ($3.8 million), Life International ($1.2 million), Population Research Institute ($0.9 million), and Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) ($0.9 million).

The nations that contribute most to suppressing the population in the poor nations of the Southern Hemisphere are largely white, rich, and below replacement population. For instance, 86 percent of the funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) comes from nations that all have birthrates that are well below replacement.13

The ratio of the resources spent by the population-control organizations to those available to the groups opposing them is 1,145 to one.


A summary of the above three categories shows that, in 2006, the Culture of Death outfunded the Culture of Life by a ratio of about $5.9 to $1:

Table 1
Comparison of 2006 Incomes
(in $ millions)
  Culture of Death Culture of Life
(1) Single-issue pro-life/pro-abortion 9,200 551
(2) Pro-family/anti-family 21,759 6,000
(3) Population Control 7,784 7
Totals 38,743 6,558

More than a Money Gap

Stark inequalities exist in areas other than funding. To begin with, there are thousands of community planning groups, health-care systems, familyhealth councils, hospitals, clinics, community-action agencies and health centers in the U.S., and only a very tiny fraction (less than one percent) do not perform or refer for abortions and sterilizations or distribute contraception. Hundreds of billions of dollars pass through these health-care systems every year, and their impact on public policy and private practice cannot be overestimated.

Second, the Culture of Death took control of the nation's media outlets early on and still has a lopsided advantage in its ability to broadcast its message. As Susanne Millsaps of NARAL Pro-Choice America says, "The media has been our best friend in this fight. They claim objectivity, but I know they're all pro-choice."14

Additionally, there are more than 300 "women's studies" programs in our colleges and universities, which crank out thousands of brainwashed ideologues every year - while the Culture of Life has exactly one pro-life program of studies, at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Groups Promoting or Cooperating with the Culture of Death

The greatest advantage the Culture of Death has over the Culture of Life is in the thousands of groups that appear to be neutral, but in reality are not. In many ways, the prime movers in the battles over family and the sanctity of human life remain in the shadows and manipulate public opinion and policy through indirect, rather than direct, means. For the purposes of this study, we define groups promoting or cooperating with the Culture of Death as those organizations whose primary mission is not directly related to sanctity of life or family issues, but which nonetheless support the destruction, inhibition, or perversion of human fertility through the distribution, promotion, or support of the following practices and products: population control, surgical or medical abortion, abortifacients and contraceptives, surgical and chemical sterilization, destructive embryonic-stem-cell research (ESCR), fetal-tissue experimentation and transplantation, illicit means of artificial reproduction, and other practices that undermine the foundation stone of society, the family, here defined as marriage between one man and one woman.

The amount of money flowing through these cooperating organizations is simply colossal. The nonprofits that support the Culture of Death generated nearly $100 billion of income in 2006. These organizations possess tens of millions of members in the U.S., and they influence public opinion and policy in many ways:

Many of these organizations escape attention because of their neutralsounding names, such as "Advocates for Youth," "National Partnership for Women and Families," and "Political Research Associates." Most people have never heard of many of these organizations, but they are pernicious in many ways. Although they all do good work, they also subtly warp the morality of the tens of millions of people they influence through the promotion of anti-life practices. They do far more damage than single-issue pro-abortion groups because they do not wear the harsh and abrasive public personas of NOW, NARAL, or Planned Parenthood, and because they have a vastly greater constituency. They also contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to anti-life politicians annually through their political action committees.

The anti-life strategists have also infiltrated - and subverted the original values of - the biggest girls' and young women's organizations in the U.S.: the Girl Scouts of America and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). These are logical high-priority targets, along with the Boy Scouts of America, which fortunately is standing firm in the face of continuous assaults by homosexual activists and other anti-family forces.

Meanwhile, there are no large public nonprofit organizations that openly promote the Culture of Life. It seems that even those groups that should naturally support life - such as the National Red Cross - have either been infiltrated and corrupted by anti-lifers, or are simply too intimidated to promote the cause of life. The pro-abortionists have done a wonderful job of establishing networks of sympathetic contact points at all of these associations, and virtually none of their rank-and-file members realize that their groups are signing on to the endless statements, press releases, manifestos, and declarations supporting anti-life practices. The momentum has become so great that, if a mainline medical, legal, or other professional group does not sign an anti-life document, it is perceived as anti-woman or unscientific.


With such crushing advantages, why has the Culture of Death not simply pulverized the Culture of Life? The answers: democracy, demography, and God.

To begin with, the Culture of Death is virulently anti-democratic. It flourishes in environments where absolute government power is concentrated in the hands of a very few, as in Communist regimes. Human beings are basically good and recognize evil when they see it, and this is why the Culture of Death has advanced its causes through the court system rather than by public referenda or votes in state legislatures.

Then there is the question of demographics. The more a people, country, or nation embraces life-destroying activities like abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia, and homosexual acts, the sooner it will die out and give way to people who love life and children. We can observe the tragic case of Europe, which is losing a net two million people a year despite prolife Muslims flocking in from the South.

But these secular influences, of course, do not provide the complete answer. God has His own purposes - and He sustains our efforts to prevent a total victory by the anti-life forces. We must neither be complacent nor give in to despair. St. Paul spoke not only to the Corinthians of centuries ago, but directly to us, when he said: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (I Cor. 15:58).


1 Bernard Nathanson, M.D., Aborting America [Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1979], p. 193. [Back]

2 1RS Forms 990 are posted on the Guidestar Web site at The most current three years of these forms are available without paid subscription. [Back]

3 CPCs aside, the ten leading pro-life fundraisers in 2006 were as follows: (1) The National Right to Life Committee and its affiliates ($29.6 million); (2) Priests for Life ($8.2 million); (3) American Life League ($7.4 million); (4) Care Net ($4.8 million); (5) The Vitae Caring Foundation ($4.7 million); (6) The National Pro-Life Alliance ($3.8 million); (7) ($2.8 million); (8) The Susan B. Anthony National List ($2.1 million); (9) The Couple to Couple League International ($2.0 million); and (10) The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform ($1.9 million). [Back]

4 The top ten single-issue pro-abortion moneymakers in 2006 were: (1) The Planned Parenthood Federation of America ($1,117 million); (2) California Family Health Council ($29.2 million); (3) NARAL Pro-Choice America ($25.3 million); (4) Philadelphia Family Planning Council ($17.9 million); (5) The Center for Reproductive Rights ($14.5 million); National Organization for Women ($13.4 million); (6) The [Alan] Guttmacher Institute ($12.7 million); (7) The Center for Reproductive Rights ($10.8 million); (8) Yakima Feminist Women's Health Center ($9.5 million); (9) Interface Children Family Services ($7.0 million); and (10) The Family Planning Association of Maine ($5.6 million). [Back]

5 The top ten money earners for PPFA in 2006 were: (1) PPFA National Headquarters (New York City) ($77.3 million); (2) Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (California) ($64.5 million); (3) Planned Parenthood San Diego and Riverside Counties ($38.2 million); (4) Planned Parenthood Western Washington State ($37.8 million); (5) Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains (Denver) ($35.1 million); (6) Planned Parenthood Houston and Southeast Texas ($34.5 million); (7) Planned Parenthood New York City ($3.25 million); (8) Planned Parenthood Los Angeles ($31.6 million); (9) Planned Parenthood Minnesota North Dakota South Dakota ($29.9 million); and (10) the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts ($24.9 million). [Back]

6 Brian Clowes, The Facts of Life compact disc edition. Chapter 19, "United States Abortion Statistics" [Front Royal, Va.: Human Life International], 2007 Edition. [Back]

7 The calculations supporting these numbers are detailed and take up a lot of space. For a spreadsheet containing these calculations, plus financial information on income from more than a thousand organizations on both sides of the battle between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death, including over a thousand footnotes, e-mail the author at [Back]

8 This number does not include the income generated by pro-abortion organizations that actually teach sex education, distribute contraceptives, or perform abortions or sterilizations, because this would double-count such income under the "family planning" calculations. This figure also does not count money received by pro-abortion foundations, because this money is eventually passed on to "frontline" pro-abortion groups. [Back]

9 The income of the pornography industry in the U.S. is larger than the revenues of the top eight technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix, and EarthLink. The income of the porn industry was $12.62 billion in 2005 and $13.33 billion in 2006 (Jerry Repolato, "Internet Pornography Statistics"). Top Ten Reviews website at, downloaded on September 20, 2007. [Back]

10 The study of "sexonomics" is notoriously imprecise, because prostitution is illegal. However, based on the average income of part-time and full-time prostitutes and an estimate of the number of prostitutes in the U.S., we arrive at an average estimate of about $8 billion annually. One source of information is Juliann G. Sebastian and Angeline Bushy, Special Populations in the Community: Advances in Reducing Health Disparities [Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 1999], page 78. [Back]

11 The leading pro-family fundraisers in 2006 were (1) The Knights of Columbus ($3,706 million); (2) The Boy Scouts of America ($1,134.8 million); (3) The Christian Broadcasting Network ($243.1 million); (4) The Trinity Broadcasting Network ($227.0 million); (5) Focus on the Family ($160.6 million); (6) The Heritage Foundation ($70.5 million); (7) Bethany Christian Services ($62.9 million); (8) The Eternal Word Television Network ($41.0 million); (9) Coral Ridge Ministries ($39.9 million); (10) The Alliance Defense Fund ($27.3 million); (11) Young America's Foundation ($19.0 million); (12) Judicial Watch ($18.7 million); (13) Promise Keepers ($17.9 million); and (14) The American Family Association ($17.0 million). [Back]

12 "Are Nations Meeting Commitments to Fund Reproductive Health?," dated December 1,2004. Downloaded from the website of Population Action International at on November 15, 2007. [Back]

13 The countries' donations to UNFPA in 2006 were (1) the Netherlands ($75.2 million); (2) Sweden ($55.2 million); (3) Norway ($40.8 million); (4) the United Kingdom ($37.7 million); (5) Japan ($33.3 million); (6) Denmark ($31.0 million); (7) Germany ($19.5 million); (8) Finland ($17.2; million); (9) Canada ($12.7 million); and (10) Switzerland ($10.0 million) [Table entitled "Top 20 Donors to UNFPA in 2006," UNFPA Annual Report 2006, p. 28)] [Back]

14 Susanne Millsaps, executive director of the Utah Chapter of NARAL (now NARAL Pro-Choice America), quoted in the Washington Times, March 13, 1991. [Back]

15 Organizations signing on to the pro-abortion Webster brief included the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of University Women, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees, American Veterans Committee, Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Association of Latino Attorneys, American Indian Health Care Association, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Public Health Association-and these are just the organizations whose names begin with "A." [Back]

16 Members of PEP include the Advocacy Institute, American Federation of Teachers, American Jewish Congress, Center for Women's Policy Studies, Coalition of Labor Union Women, National Asian Women's Health Organization, National Black Women's Health Project, Political Research Associates, Women's Environment and Development Organization, and Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). [Back]

17 Member groups of the National Coalition Against Censorship include the American Medical Student Association, the American Academy of HIV Medicine, American College Health Association, American Medical Women's Association, American Social Health Association, Foundation for AIDS Research, Center for Law and Social Policy, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Association of Working Women, National Council of Jewish Women, National Education Association, National Partnership for Women and Families, Sierra Club, and Society for Adolescent Medicine. [Back]

18 The organizations supporting fetal organ harvesting and experimentation include the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, American Medical Women's Association, and Association of American Medical Colleges - once again, that's just the organizations whose names begin with "A." [Back]

19 Groups supporting ESCR include the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists, Alliance for Aging Research, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association of Anatomists, American Association for Dental Research, American Association of Dental Schools, American Association of Immunologists, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, American Burn Association, American College of Clinical Pharmacology, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and American Gastroenterological Association. There are over a thousand major medical and dental professional associations in the United States, and this list includes only those groups whose names begin with "A." [Back]

20 See, for two examples, AARP's Modern Maturity magazine: "The Last Taboo," September 2000, and Mike Edwards. "As Good as It Gets," AARP: The Magazine, November and December 2004. (AARP stopped publishing Modem Maturity in 2003, before the debut of The Magazine). [Back]

Brian Clowes, Ph.D., is director of research at Human Life International.