How Rich is the Pro-Life Movement?
The Baseless Propaganda
For decades, pro-abortionists have painted pro-lifers as a bunch of cruel, rich old white men intent upon controlling women’s bodies and lives (read or watch The Handmaid’s Tale for their depressing version of reality). Their websites and blogs repeat endlessly what Anne Nicol Gaylor alleged in her bizarre 1975 propaganda book Abortion is a Blessing:
Had the proponents of legal abortion had the access to money, to schools and churches, and to the media that the antis have had, the only proponents of a ban on abortions in this country today would be those zealots who oppose not only abortion but contraception, and in the final analysis, sex itself.
We pro-lifers know from experience that we are greatly outspent by pro-abortionists, but we have not been able to prove our assertions ― until now.
This article summarizes the results of a study of more than 70,000 IRS Forms 990 [“Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax”] to determine just how much comparative income is generated annually by groups that support the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death.
There are four elements to this comparison. Each examines a different “arena,” and the final step combines them for an overall view.
- The first arena is a direct comparison of the incomes of single-issue activist pro-life and pro-abortion groups. This is the one that most pro-lifers are interested in.
- The second arena compares the incomes of activist pro-family/conservative groups and anti-family/homophile/”progressive” groups. These first two arenas directly impact the family.
- The third arena addresses the giant international population control groups that are based in the United States, usually in Washington, D.C. and New York City. This gives us an idea of the magnitude of the pernicious influence that our nation has on families all over the developing world.
- The fourth arena is the widest, covering those groups which have other primary missions, but which cooperate with and support the Culture of Death in the other three arenas.
Since the incomes of various groups (in particular many large non-profits) tend to fluctuate substantially year by year, all of these incomes are calculated over the twenty-year period 2000 to 2019 inclusive. This method “smooths out” the changes and gives a more accurate picture of the situation.
1. Pro-Life vs. Pro-Abortion Groups
The Activist Groups
Let us begin by examining the comparative incomes of single-issue activist pro-life vs. pro-abortion and “family planning” organizations in the United States.
Pro-life groups in the USA raised about $55 billion during the twenty-year span 2000-2019 inclusive. This is a much larger amount than most pro-lifers imagine, and it shows the staying power of our movement and the generosity of pro-lifers in general. While the much larger income of pro-abortion groups is almost entirely derived from the government and large foundations, the pro-life movement receives almost all of its donations from individuals and is therefore a true “grassroots” movement.
By contrast, the pro-abortion philosophy is the direct successor to the eugenics movement, which has always belonged to the rich elite, led by the likes of Havelock Ellis, Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes.
About 20% of the pro-life total was generated by the approximately 4,000 crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) located in every one of our fifty states. Most of these CPCs work under the umbrella organizations Birthright International, Heartbeat International, and Care Net. The average income of the CPCs was about $209,000 in 2020.1
By comparison, number one on the pro-abortion moneymaking list is the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which by itself made $35.5 billion in these two decades. Thirty-nine of PPFA’s affiliates generated more than $10 million of income in 2020, and PPFA has received more than 19 billion dollars of our tax money since Roe v. Wade ― most of its total income.2
Sixteen Planned Parenthood affiliates have a greater income than the leading pro-life fundraiser, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), and 33 have a greater income than the second-ranked pro-life moneymaker, Priests for Life.
The incomes of other large single-purpose activist pro-abortion groups over the last two decades included the following. Their incomes, while substantial, are all dwarfed by that of Planned Parenthood. Rounding out the pro-abort “top ten” are:
- Foundation for Women ($846 million)
- NARAL Pro-Choice America ($826 million)
- Guttmacher Institute ($664 million)
- ETR Associates ($571 million)
- Global Fund for Women ($485 million)
- Center for Reproductive Rights ($484 million)
- Power to Decide ($474 million)
- EMILY’s List ($464 million)
- National Women’s Law Center ($384 million)
Family Planning Groups
Although the activist wing of the pro-abortion movement is rich, its income is relatively small compared to that of the “family planners,” those who supply all of the devices and procedures that render men and women sterile, either temporarily or permanently.
The great advantage the “family planners” have over pro-life organizations is that they have tangible and very popular products to sell. The great majority of Americans have been conditioned to believe that contraception is essential for their lifestyles, and that abortion must remain available as a backup for those allegedly “rare and regrettable cases” where birth control fails.
But it is very difficult for pro-life and pro-family organizations to “sell” values and virtue to a world that is fixated on self-fulfillment and self-gratification. Even when we do successfully get our point of view across, there is absolutely no monetary gain in doing so. This reflects the altruistic nature of pro-lifers ― we aren’t in this for ourselves, but for God and for the good of His people.
By comparison, the pro-abortionists and “family planners” have a triple-tiered interlocking moneymaking system that would make even the most unscrupulous used-car salesman drool with envy.
To recruit new lifelong “customers,” sex educators sell our children the idea that any kind of sexual activity outside of marriage is permissible, enjoyable, even inevitable ― and that sex is “perfectly natural” and good, but just so long as coercion is not involved and that they practice “safe(r) sex” by using condoms or some other form of birth control. It is impossible to know how much money is spent on textbooks and other materials for the millions of school children in the United States who receive value-free sex education, but the amount must be in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Since this element cannot be quantified, we will not attempt to estimate it.
Then the “family planners” sell us birth control devices to support the sexual activities recommended to us by the sex educators. Money made by the contraceptive/abortifacient industry in the United States dwarfs abortion income. About 27.5 million American women use abortifacient or contraceptive methods of birth control each year, bringing in about $10.8 billion annually. The 1.2 million annual surgical male and female sterilizations bring in another $3.2 billion.
Finally, when these birth control methods fail (as they do more than two million times per year in the USA), the “family planners” stand ready to provide abortions, which makes them $626 million more per year.3
This means that the amount of money generated by the “family planning” consortium in the United States is at least $14.6 billion per year. The amount it has made during the time period 2000-2019 is a staggering $293 billion.
If we add the $11.5 billion income received by pro-abortion advocacy organizations (which do not provide the above services, thus excluding PPFA to avoid double-counting) over the same time period, we arrive at a total 20-year pro-abortion income of about $305 billion.
If we compare this to the $55 billion raised by pro-life organizations during 2000-2019, we can see that the single-purpose pro-abortion groups outraised the single-purpose pro-life organizations by a ratio of more than 5.5 to one.
2. Pro-Family vs. Anti-Family Groups
Now we turn to the second step of the comparison ― pro-family and anti-family organizations.
All attentive Christians are acutely aware of how many influences are eroding the very hearts of our families today ― the “gay rights” and New Age movements, gambling, drinking, drugs, pornography, no-fault divorce, prostitution, euthanasia and all of the hundreds of groups striving relentlessly to eradicate all traces of religion from the public square. Once again, the Culture of Death not only presents these “snares of the Devil” to us in attractive packages, but profits tremendously from all of them.
Yet we should not lose hope, because there are powerful and well-organized interests standing up for the rights of the family. In fact, non-profit pro-family organizations in the United States raised a total of about 38 billion dollars during the time period 2000-2019. The largest of these include the Trinity Broadcasting Network ($8.0 billion), the Christian Broadcasting Network ($6.9 billion), the Heritage Foundation ($3 billion), and Focus on the Family ($2.6 billion).
Anti-family organizations include homosexual/transgender groups, which raised $50 billion during the years 2000-2019; pro-euthanasia organizations, which raised $350 million; and self-described “Catholic” groups attempting to undermine and subvert the teachings of the Church regarding sexual morality, which raised $2.3 billion.4
But once again we must consider the massive expenditures on “products” that anti-family and anti-religious organizations peddle to the public. These mostly fall into two primary categories. The first is the pornography industry, which sold an estimated $381 billion in filthy books, movies and other products during the time period 2000-2019;5 and prostitution, which generated about $299 billion during the same period.6
We can see from the above that anti-family and anti-Faith groups and activities raised about $732 billion during the two decades 2000-2019 vs. $38 billion for pro-family groups, or a ratio of about nineteen to one.
3. Population Control Groups
Now we proceed to the third step of this analysis.
Nowhere is the struggle between life and death more unequal than it is in the international arena.
United States direct taxpayer funding for “population assistance” (money that goes directly to abortion/sterilization/contraception provision or promotion) in 2020 was about $6.1 billion, and for the time period 2000-2019 was about $105.5 billion (the total for all “developed” nations was just over $200 billion, meaning that the USA funds most of the world’s population suppression efforts).
Also over these two decades, the 83 major U.S.-based population control lobbying groups such as the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the Population Council, generated $112 billion in income. Population control groups use this money to generate massive propaganda campaigns, plan and 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 four small U.S.-based organizations which oppose the international population agenda. These groups had a combined 2000-2019 income of only $200 million.
In summary, the American government and U.S.-based population control organizations had $218 billion of in income in these two decades, outspending the four anti-population control groups by a factor of 1,090 to one.
4. Culture of Death vs. Culture of Life
“He doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus.”
― William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
A summary of the above three “arenas” shows that, during the two decades 2000-2019, the non-profit and government-funded sector of the Culture of Death generated a staggering $1.255 trillion of income in 2010, compared to $93 billion for the Culture of Life, a ratio of about 13.5 dollars to one.
These hard numbers show that anyone complaining about “rich” pro-life groups is either grossly uninformed or out of touch with the reality of the situation.
However, the above analysis takes into consideration only single-purpose organizations, and does not paint a complete picture of the situation regarding pro-life and pro-family vs. anti-life and anti-family funding. In fact, the situation is so complex that it is impossible to do more than make a rough estimate of incomes.
The Apparent Bystanders
The fourth and final part of this analysis examines the contributions to the Culture of Death by organizations with missions not directly connected to the life issues.
The greatest advantage the Culture of Death has over the Culture of Life is the thousands of groups that appear to be neutral on the life issues, but in reality are not.
Often these organizations do good work, and their primary mission is not directly related to sanctity of life or family issues. However, they have been systematically infiltrated and subverted by the Culture of Death over the past fifty years in a brilliant and patient strategy to ensure a never-ending flood of funding. The many targets of this campaign now support many practices that are distinctly and intrinsically anti-life ― the destruction, inhibition or perversion of human fertility through the distribution, promotion or support of surgical or medical abortion, abortifacients and contraceptives, surgical and chemical sterilization; illicit means of artificial reproduction and advanced sciences such as destructive embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), fetal tissue experimentation and transplantation; and practices that undermine the foundation stone of society ― the family, correctly defined as marriage between a man and a woman who are open to the transmission of life. These groups exert enormous influence over their members and contributors by publishing and disseminating information that heavily favors a philosophy that supports the Culture of Death.
To begin with, there are thousands of community planning groups, health care systems, family health councils, hospitals, clinics, community action agencies and health centers in the United States, 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 our health care systems every year, and their impact on public policy and private practice cannot be overestimated.
These organizations possess tens of millions of members in the United States alone, and they influence public opinion and policy in many ways.
The American Bar, Diabetes, Heart, Library, Lung, Medical, Nurses, Psychiatric, Psychological and Public Health Associations are all stridently pro-abortion, as well as directly influencing the abortion opinions of millions of lawyers, doctors, librarians, psychiatrists and psychologists. Almost all of these professional groups have signed on to multiple letters and manifestos supporting the entire range of Culture of Death practices, such as opposing abstinence-only education and supporting fetal organ harvesting and experimentation, embryonic stem cell research and keeping a child’s “transitioning” a secret from their parents.
Many groups cooperate with or promote the Culture of Death in specific ways to targeted audiences. For example, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) publishes soothing articles promoting physician-assisted suicide to its 39 million members and recommends the Netherlands as the best place to grow old, while completely ignoring its runaway euthanasia program.
Many organizations avoid undue attention because of their neutral-sounding names, such as “Advocates for Youth,” “National Partnership for Women and Families,” or “Political Research Associates.” Most people have never heard of many of these organizations, but they are pernicious in many ways. Although some of them do good work, they also subtly corrupt the morality of the tens of millions of people they influence through the promotion of anti-life practices, both in the United States and overseas. One could even argue that they do far more damage than single-issue pro-abortion groups because they do not possess the harsh and abrasive public personas of NOW, NARAL or Planned Parenthood.
These organizations contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to anti-life politicians annually through their political action committees, often through coercive dues-paying mechanisms. This is a particular problem with the AFL-CIO, which generated an incredible $2.5 trillion over the study period through compulsory dues levied on its 12.5 million members. These organizations often generate a culture of fear among rank-and-file leadership, and anyone who dares write a pro-family article or even says anything pro-life is ostracized, shunned, and sometimes even fired.
The anti-life strategists have made certain that they have infiltrated and subverted the original values of the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). These are logical high-priority strategic targets for those seeking to corrupt and recruit the next generation.
In addition to the huge income of the AFL-CIO, the “top twenty” large mainstream non-profit organizations that support the Culture of Death with a significant portion of their resources are listed below. If the incomes of all of these thousands of groups are tallied, the total is more than six trillion dollars during the time period 2000-2019.
Note how many of these huge entities have plain-vanilla names allowing them to fly “under the radar” so that most pro-life activists have never heard of their pro-contraception and pro-abortion activities:
- United Nations ($430 billion)
- Gates Foundation ($105 billion)
- United Way ($67 billion)
- National Education Association (NEA) ($56 billion)
- Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria ($46.2 billion)
- Girl Scouts of America ($23.2 billion)
- Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) ($19.2 billion)
- World Vision International ($18.4 billion)
- Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) ($18.3 billion)
- Humane Society of the United States ($17.3 billion)
- Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) ($15.5 billion)
- California Institute for Regenerative Medicine ($13.9 billion)
- Hewlett Foundation ($13.8 billion)
- CARE ($13.7 billion)
- National Urban League ($11.8 billion)
- National Academy of Sciences ($10.8 billion)
- Legal Services Corporation ($10.5 billion)
- Save the Children Foundation ($9.1 billion)
- International Rescue Committee ($6.6 billion)
- Buffett Foundation ($6.1 billion)
Interestingly, there is not a single large public nonprofit organization that openly promotes the Culture of Life. It seems that even those groups that should naturally support life have either been infiltrated and corrupted by anti-lifers or are simply too timid to promote the cause of life. They know that if they support the pro-life movement in any way, even through such innocuous means as crisis pregnancy centers, the media will instantly lead a screaming charge of feminists condemning them as “anti-woman” and “fanatics.” The Culture of Death in general has done a wonderful job of establishing networks of sympathetic contact points at all 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 when asked, pro-abortionists and the media denounce it.
So Why Are We Still Here?
With such crushing advantages, why has the Culture of Death not simply obliterated the Culture of Life and all it stands for?
The answer lies in the three “Ds:” Democracy, Demography and Deity.
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 and socialist regimes. Since many people are basically good and recognize evil when they see it, the Culture of Death has usually advanced its causes through the court system rather than by public referenda or state legislatures, as with abortion and homosexual “marriage.” This explains the resurgence of interest in pushing socialism at all levels in our country, particularly in our colleges and universities.
Secondly, there is the question of demographics. The more a people, country or nation embraces life-destroying activities such as abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia and homosexual acts, the sooner it will die out and give way to people who love life and children. The obvious example is Europe, which is losing more than two million native Europeans a year as Muslims, who generally oppose abortion and homosexuality, are having the children that Europeans refuse to have. Other examples include Japan and Russia, which are each losing more than one million citizens annually.
But these secular influences, of course, do not provide the complete answer. God sustains us, even if His Church does not always do so. It is a constant source of frustration and pain to pro-life and pro-family activists that the one entity that could end abortion today simply is not doing its job.
To be sure, there are dozens of great bishops and many strong priests and ministers in the United States, but the Christian Church is not effectively addressing the greatest social issues of all time, even though most people belong to denominations that are, at least in name, pro-life and pro-family. The great majority of priests and ministers rarely preach against abortion and never preach against contraception and sterilization.
This struggle began with the ejection of Lucifer from Heaven and will only end when our Lord wills it. What should our attitude be until He does will it?
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” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Interestingly, the inflexible principles of demography also apply to the churches. The pro-abortion and “neutral” churches are dying out at a rapid rate; they have lost an aggregated total of 45% of their congregants since 1970. By comparison, the pro-life church denominations have gained 43% in their memberships. Pro-abortionists often tell us that there is no “religious consensus” regarding abortion ― but, as always, they are dead wrong. In 2020, 138.4 million people belonged to officially pro-life churches, and only 13.3 million belonged to pro-abortion churches. This is a ratio of more than ten to one, a “landslide” by any measure!7
 Telephone conversations with Susan Dammann, R.N., of Heartbeat International on November 7, 2012, and with Kay Sanford of Care Net on November 9, 2012, determined the approximate number of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the United States. They also provided an approximate average income for CPCs, which is updated to 2020 figures using the Minneapolis Fed Consumer Price Index.
 All figures are from PPFA’s Annual Reports. These funds are under the heading “Government Health Services Reimbursements and Grants.” The Minneapolis Fed Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used to update these figures to current dollars.
 A large number of references, primarily from the Guttmacher Institute and the United States government, are used to estimate the income derived from the “family planning” industry from six separate activities: Surgical abortions; medical abortions (the abortion pill); male and female sterilization; distribution of contraceptives and abortifacients; educational programs, especially sex education programs; and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
 The annual income figures for all of these organizations were derived from IRS Forms 990, “Return of Organizations Exempt from Income Tax.”
 The income of the pornography industry in the United States was $12.62 billion in 2005 and $13.33 billion in 2006 [“2006 and 2005 Pornography United States Industry Revenue Statistics.” Jerry Ropelato. “Internet Pornography Statistics.” Top Ten Reviews website, November 8, 2012].
Since that time, pornography has become one of the leading moneymakers in the United States and in the world, with estimates of $97 billion of income worldwide annually and $16 billion in the United States alone [“Pornography Statistics,” Covenant Eyes, “Enough is Enough,” Porn Industry Archives].
Also see Johanna Dasteel. “Porn Producers in Uproar over New L.A. Health Ordinance.” LifeSite Daily News, November 9, 2012.
 The study of “sexonomics” is notoriously imprecise, because prostitution is mostly illegal. However, based on the average income of part-time and full-time prostitutes and an estimate of the number of prostitutes in the United States, we arrive at an average estimate of about $8 billion for the year 2000 (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). A later estimate of $14.6 billion is quoted in the 2015 Havocscope e-book entitled “Prostitution: Prices and Statistics of the Global Sex Trade.” Also see Havocscope’s webpage “Prostitution Revenue by Country.”
 Data from the periodical Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, published every five years by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
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Dr. Brian Clowes has been HLI’s director of research since 1995 and is one of the most accomplished and respected intellectuals in the international pro-life movement. Best known as author of the most exhaustive pro-life informational resource volume The Facts of Life, and for his Pro-Life Basic Training Course, Brian is the author of nine books and over 500 scholarly and popular articles, and has traveled to 70 countries on six continents as a pro-life speaker, educator and trainer.