Who Is Raymond Ruddy, Lila Rose's Funder?

››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL & NED RESNIKOFF

Raymond Ruddy funded Live Action's latest videos maligning Planned Parenthood. Ruddy has previously smeared Obama as an infanticide supporter and promoted fringe views on birth control, sex-education and reproductive rights. He also maintained a cozy and profitable relationship with the Bush administration.

Ruddy Funded Hoax Videos Attacking Planned Parenthood

Gerard Health Foundation Funded Live Action's Anti-Planned Parenthood Hoax. A December 3, 2010, press release from Live Action titled "Live Action to Launch Major Investigations in 2011 with New Fundraising" said:

Live Action, the youth-led pro-life group responsible for exposing statutory rape cover-up, racism, and medical misinformation at Planned Parenthood, is preparing to launch several major investigations of the abortion industry next year. A donor fund has awarded Live Action a $125,000 matching gift, and Live Action is now starting a fundraising campaign to match the gift and fund the new investigations. [Live Action, 12/3/10]

Live Action did not report the identity of the donor. On January 22, Life Prizes, an initiative of the Gerard Health Foundation, held an invitation-only awards ceremony. Peter Smith of LifeSiteNews.com reported on that ceremony in a January 25 article:

[Gerard Health Vice President Claude] Allen announced that Life Prizes 2008 award winner Lila Rose had been offered an additional $125,000 matching grant for her investigative work exposing the practices of other abortionists.

"Lila has met that match," he announced, which the audience met with loud applause.

Laura Ingraham, a nationally syndicated talk show radio host and FOX News contributor, was master of ceremonies for the event, her second time in that role. [LifeSiteNews.com, 1/28/11]

Ruddy Founded The Gerard Health Foundation. From The Boston Globe:

BornAliveTruth joins a list of undertakings that have made Ruddy a major funder of causes dear to the Christian right. The Gerard Health Foundation, which he created in 2001, has disbursed more than $7 million to groups that oppose abortion rights, support abstinence-only sex education, and stress abstinence and marital fidelity, rather than the distribution of condoms, to fight the spread of AIDS. ["Faith groups urge cuts to AIDS fund Allege opposition to Christian efforts," The Boston Globe, 12/1/06, retrieved from Nexis]

Ruddy Funds Gerard Health Foundation. In 2007, 2008, and 2009 Gerard Health Foundation reported only "Raymond & Marilyn Ruddy Charitable" as contributors on its 990 Forms [retrieved from GuideStar.Org].

Fox News Promoted Live Action's Hoax. Fox News has repeatedly promoted Live Action's videos, often failing to note key facts:

  • O'Reilly failed to report that Planned Parenthood contacted authorities after the Live Action. "sting" [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/8/11]
  • Fox attacked Planned Parenthood for video showing no wrongdoing. [Fox News, America's News HQ, 2/6/11]
  • Ingraham: "The Lila Rose folks ... should get the Pulitzer" for their videos smearing Planned Parenthood. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/4/11]
  • Special Report failed to note that Planned Parenthood reported suspected sex trafficking to the FBI. [Fox News, Special Report with Brett Baier, 2/2/11]
  • O'Reilly and Stossel discussed one of Live Action's hoax videos and attacked government funding for Planned Parenthood. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/2/11]
  • America Live hosted Life Prizes-connected Cathy Cleaver Ruse to attack Planned Parenthood. [Fox News, America Live, 2/2/11]

Ruddy Funded Ads Smearing Obama As An Infanticide Supporter

Raymond Ruddy Financed Born Alive Truth. From AP:

The BornAliveTruth ad, financed by prominent Massachusetts anti-abortion figure Raymond Ruddy, features Gianna Jessen, a 31-year-old motivational speaker from Nashville, Tenn., who adopted as a child after a failed abortion. "Sen. Obama please support born alive infant protections. I'm living proof these babies have a right to live." ["Obama responds to criticism of his abortion votes," The Associated Press, 9/20/08, retrieved from Nexis]

Born Alive Truth's Ads Smeared Obama As An Infanticide-Supporter. The ad features Gianna Jessen, who says she was "born after a failed abortion. But if Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn't be here. Four times, Barack Obama voted to oppose a law to protect babies left to die after failed abortions." [Media Matters, 9/17/08]

Illinois Law Already Required Medical Care For Babies. From Media Matters:

In the ad, video of which Martin included in his post, Gianna Jessen said she was "born after a failed abortion. But if Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn't be here. Four times, Barack Obama voted to oppose a law to protect babies left to die after failed abortions." But Martin did not note that the existing Illinois abortion law specifically required a doctor to provide medical care to a fetus born alive in the situation described by Jessen.

Jessen's website states that the attempted abortion took place in the "third trimester." The Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, as it existed when the legislation was being considered, requires that except in cases involving medical emergencies, when a doctor performed an abortion on a viable fetus, a second doctor was required to be in attendance during the procedure and, "if a child is born alive," that doctor "shall exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as would be required of a physician providing immediate medical care to a child born alive in the course of a pregnancy termination which was not an abortion." Failure to provide such care constituted a felony. [Media Matters, 9/17/08]

PolitiFact rated Born Alive Truth's ad "false." From PolitiFact's post:

The bills' supporters said it gave added emphasis to laws already on the books, deterring the death of abortion survivors from neglect. One of the bills' strongest supporters was a nurse, Jill Stanek, who said she had witnessed infants left to die in dirty utility rooms. Abortion-rights proponents, on the other hand, said the legislation was a back-door attempt to stop legal abortions.

Illinois already had a law on its books from 1975 that said if a doctor suspected an abortion was scheduled for a viable fetus -- meaning able to survive outside of the mother's body -- then the child must receive medical care if it survives the abortion. The new laws didn't distinguish between viable and nonviable, meaning that an infant of any age that survived an abortion should receive care.

Obama did vote against the laws, by voting no or present on the bills. (In Illinois, a present vote has the same weight as a no vote.) But because of the older law, [Born Alive Truth's Gianna] Jessen is wrong when she says "if Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn't be here." According to the medical records provided by the organization that produced the ad, Jessen was born at 29 weeks, which would have been a viable pregnancy and subject to the older Illinois law requiring that she receive medical care. So it's not correct to say that Obama opposed that. [PolitiFact, 9/15/08]

Fox News Promoted These Deceptive Ads.

  • Hannity & Colmes hosted Jessen. [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 9/15/08, retrieved from Nexis]
  • Hannity aired Born Alive Truth's ad without noting its falsehoods. [Fox News, Hannity's America, 10/19/08, retrieved from Nexis]

Born Alive Truth reported appearances on the following Fox News shows:

  • Hannity & Colmes, Gianna Jessen, 9/17/08
  • Hannity & Colmes discussed born alive, 8/21/08
  • The O'Reilly Factor talked about born alive, 8/21/08
  • Hannity & Colmes interviewed Jill Stanek, 8/20/08
  • Hannity & Colmes discussed Obama's views on born alive with Ann Coulter, 8/19/08
  • Hannity's America discussed born alive and PP commercial, 8/18/08
  • Hannity & Colmes discussed botched abortion and born alive, 8/15/08 [Born Alive Truth TV Appearances]

Ruddy Promotes Fringe Views

A Woman's Concern Believes Distribution Of Birth Control Is "Demeaning To Women." The Washington Post reported:

The Bush administration has appointed a new chief of family-planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who worked at a Christian pregnancy-counseling organization that regards the distribution of contraceptives as "demeaning to women."

Eric Keroack, medical director for A Woman's Concern, a nonprofit group based in Dorchester, Mass., will become deputy assistant secretary for population affairs in the next two weeks, department spokeswoman Christina Pearson said yesterday.

[...]

The Keroack appointment angered many family-planning advocates, who noted that A Woman's Concern supports sexual abstinence until marriage, opposes contraception and does not distribute information promoting birth control at its six centers in eastern Massachusetts.

"A Woman's Concern is persuaded that the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness," the group's Web site says. ["Bush Choice for Family-Planning Post Criticized," Washington Post, 11/17/06]

  • Ruddy Funds "A Woman's Concern." The Boston Globe reported:

The Gerard Health Foundation, which he created in 2001, has disbursed more than $7 million to groups that oppose abortion rights, support abstinence-only sex education, and stress abstinence and marital fidelity, rather than the distribution of condoms, to fight the spread of AIDS. The foundation's grants include at least $1.4 million to the abstinence-oriented Medical Institute for Sexual Health; $913,000 to A Woman's Concern, a Dorchester-based sponsor of abstinence-only sex education programs and antiabortion crisis pregnancy centers; and $635,000 to James Dobson's Focus on the Family. ["Conservative Causes get Bay State patron Dover businessman backs abortion foes," The Boston Globe, 10/31/08, retrieved from Nexis]

Born Alive Truth's Leader Suggested Violence Against Women Who Have Abortions Is Acceptable. Media Matters reported:

In addition to Freddoso, several media outlets -- including The New York Times, the Associated Press, Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, The New York Sun, and The Hill -- have quoted or cited criticism of Obama by Stanek over his opposition to bills to amend the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 without citing relevant facts that undermine her credibility. These facts include her suggestion that domestic violence is acceptable against women who have abortions; her support of billboards in Tanzania that say "Faithful Condom Users" in English and Swahili and displays a large skeleton and aimed to discourage condom use there in favor of abstinence and "be[ing] faithful"; and her citation of a report that "aborted fetuses are much sought after delicacies" in China to which she added, "I think this stuff is happening." Media Matters has laid out several of these statements by Stanek. [Media Matters, 8/22/08]

  • Jill Stanek was the leader of Born Alive Truth. From NPR:

A new Illinois-based 527 organization called Born Alive Truth has launched a TV ad attacking Obama on the issue of abortion.

[...]

The 527, formed this year, is led by an Illinois anti-abortion activist, Jill Stanek, who gave congressional testimony in favor of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which President Bush signed in 2002. [NPR, 9/16/08]

  • Raymond Ruddy Financed Born Alive Truth. From AP:

The BornAliveTruth ad, financed by prominent Massachusetts anti-abortion figure Raymond Ruddy, features Gianna Jessen, a 31-year-old motivational speaker from Nashville, Tenn., who adopted as a child after a failed abortion. "Sen. Obama please support born alive infant protections. I'm living proof these babies have a right to live." ["Obama responds to criticism of his abortion votes," The Associated Press, 9/20/08, retrieved from Nexis]

  • Ruddy's Foundation Awarded Stanek $100,000. Gerard Health Foundation gave Stanek a $100,000 award. [Gerard Health Foundation's 2009 990 Form, accessed via GuideStar.org]

Ruddy Wanted To De-Fund Global Fund To Fight AIDS. The Boston Globe reports:

Some other Christian activists, such as Raymond Ruddy, president of the Gerard Health Foundation in South Natick, which gives about $2 million annually to antiabortion and abstinence programs worldwide, want all US money cut from the fund.

"I see a direct correlation of dollars given to the Global Fund and dollars taken away from" the Bush administration's AIDS efforts, Ruddy said. "The Global Fund is systematically excluding faith-based groups from getting money, and that's not right." ["Faith groups urge cuts to AIDS fund; Allege opposition to Christian efforts," The Boston Globe, 12/1/06, retrieved from Nexis]

Ruddy Funds Ineffective Abstinence-Only Programs. From The Nation:

As for Ruddy's abstinence-only policy, recent reports, including one contracted by Bush's HHS, show that after more than $1 billion has been poured into the enterprise, it simply doesn't work. Already nine states have opted out from federal funds for this faith-based boondoggle in favor of more comprehensive and effective programs of sex education for their youth.

"I can't think of another federal program where so much money was spent without any oversight and to such little effect," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a national organization that promotes comprehensive sexual health policies. "It wasn't that policy-makers didn't know that abstinence-only didn't work. In 2000 the Institute of Medicine issued a scathing report on these programs. But they went full steam ahead despite the warning. It's beyond naïve. It's immoral." ["The Abstinence Gluttons," The Nation, 5/17/07]

The Revolving Door Between Ruddy, The Bush Administration

The Nation: Ruddy Used White House Connections To "Boost Profits For His Company And Line The Pockets Of His Cronies." From The Nation:

With close ties to the White House, federal health officials and Republican power brokers that date back to W.'s days as Texas governor, Ruddy has leveraged his generous wallet and insider muscle to push an ultraconservative social agenda, enrich a preferred network of abstinence-only and antiabortion groups, boost profits for his company and line the pockets of his cronies--all with taxpayer dollars.

Following the money swirling around Ruddy offers an eye-opening glimpse into the squalor at the heart of the abstinence-only project. One top Bush adviser left to take a job at Ruddy's charity, Gerard Health Foundation, and a senior officer at Ruddy's for-profit company, Maximus, left to take a top-level position at the Department of Health and Human Services. Leaders of Christian-right organizations that are Gerard grantees have gained advisory HHS positions--and their organizations have in turn received AIDS and abstinence grants to the tune of at least $25 million. Maximus itself has raked in more than $100 million in federal contracts during the Bush era.

[...]

When Bush took office, Maximus had just over $13 million in federal contracts. Within a year the amount tripled. By 2006 Maximus was doing $61 million in business with the Bush Administration. ["The Abstinence Gluttons," The Nation, 5/17/07]

In Return, Ruddy Funded Bush Re-Election Efforts. From The Nation:

In 2004 Ruddy began to mobilize his network of grantees for the coming elections, doing his part to implement Karl Rove's strategy of picking up 4 million evangelicals who had not gone to the polls in 2000. To achieve this, the Bush campaign created its own grassroots network among evangelical churches and religious-right nonprofits. Ruddy hired the Family Research Council's Donovan to put word out through antiabortion newsletters, promising Gerard grants to conservative charities that would develop ambitious voter registration drives.

That year Ruddy also shoveled nearly $400,000 into James Dobson's Focus on the Family, which was then mounting anti-gay marriage campaigns in service of Republican candidates through its 501(c)4 arm. Ruddy put $172,000 into Redeem the Vote, a voter registration operation out of Montgomery, Alabama, targeting evangelical youth, and $117,916 into Life, Liberty and Family, an old antiabortion nonprofit. The latter donation went into a hardball anti-Kerry campaign, Your Catholic Voice, which attacked the Massachusetts Democrat for his prochoice politics in newspaper ads that ran across the country. He also maxed out his personal contribution to the Bush/Cheney ticket ($4,000) and spread more than $12,000 to the campaigns of select religious-right Republicans running for Congress, including Tom Coburn in Oklahoma and Billy Tauzin in Louisiana. For the 2006 midterms, Ruddy put hundreds of thousands into Common Sense Ohio, a Republican 527 that ran deceptive ads and conducted push-polling in seven states. ["The Abstinence Gluttons," The Nation, 5/17/07]

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