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SPLC Releases New Report Exposing Anti-Abortion Extremist Movement

Report identifies four groups behind a nationwide effort to restrict reproductive rights and criminalize pregnant people  

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released an in-depth analysis of the most extreme faction of the anti-abortion movement in the United States. The report, Anti-Abortion Extremism: Inside the Movement Dismantling Our Reproductive Rights identifies four male supremacist hate groups — known as abortion abolitionists — who have been emboldened by the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in their effort to enforce abortion bans, often through violence and intimidation. 

“Restricting and banning abortion is a tool that the far right uses to maintain white supremacy and to reinforce a specific kind of family and social structure,” said Cassie Miller, senior research analyst with the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “This report reveals the playbook being used by far-right and anti-abortion extremists to take full control of government with the goal of outlawing abortion and even criminalizing those who have and provide the procedure.” 

This growing anti-abortion extremist movement has mobilized its network of supporters to consolidate their influence over state legislatures across the country. The groups listed by the SPLC include Abolitionists Rising, End Abortion Now, Foundation to Abolish Abortion and Operation Save America. All of these groups believe that women who have abortions should be criminally charged with murder and, if it is part of state law, subject to the death penalty. 

White supremacist and antigovernment militias have long played important roles in the anti-abortion movement. Some extremist groups, including Abolitionists Rising, maintain relationships with anti-abortion activists like Matthew Trewhella, who called the murder of abortion providers “justifiable” homicide in the 1990s. According to the National Abortion Federation, anti-abortion violence is rising in states that are protective of reproductive rights. 

Abortion bans and restrictions have a disproportionate impact on women of color and those who live in poverty, particularly in the Deep South where we see the highest rates of poverty and where more than half of Black people in America live. 

“The anti-abortion movement is not going unchallenged,” said Rachael Fugardi, research analyst with the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “Providers, organizers and advocates across the country are pushing back on abortion restrictions and a majority of the American public supports access to safe abortion. We hope this report will be a resource for those countering the anti-democracy forces seeking to roll back our rights — and a reminder that our families and our freedoms are on the line, especially as we prepare to vote in the 2024 elections.” 

Read the full report here.