Report: CEO of anti-abortion group used white supremacist rhetoric


Citation Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

In a December 11 article, The Guardian’s Stephanie Kirchgaessner highlighted anti-abortion group Obria’s founder and CEO Kathleen Eaton Bravo’s use of white supremacist rhetoric. As Kirchgaessner reported, Bravo's xenophobic remarks about immigrants outnumbering white Christian populations parallels “a fallacy propagated by white supremacists” that white populations are being “replaced” by nonwhite and non-Christian communities. It’s a trope that’s also frequently parroted in right-wing media. Bravo’s comments were from a 2015 interview, in which she openly displayed her xenophobia by claiming that “Christianity began to die out” in Europe due to “contraception and abortion,” leaving most of Europe to be “replaced” by immigrant Muslims.

Bravo’s remarks, which were published in a 2015 interview with the Catholic World Report, shows how xenophobic fears about immigrants from African and Middle Eastern countries “replacing” white Christian populations have influenced anti-choice campaigners in the US.

In the interview, Bravo was asked whether abortion was getting the attention it deserved. She said it was not, because abortion had become a political rather than a moral issue.

“Few realize that it has had a devastating impact on our society, and threatens our culture’s survival. Take the example of Europe. When its nations accepted contraception and abortion, they stopped replacing their population. Christianity began to die out. And, with Europeans having no children, immigrant Muslims came in to replace them, and now the culture of Europe is changing,” she said.

The idea that white people are being “replaced” by non-whites and non-Christians has long been a fallacy propagated by white supremacists. The chants “you will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us” were used by white supremacists in Charlottesville in 2017 and were part of the racist ideology espoused by mass shooters in El Paso and New Zealand.

Bravo also said in the interview that the US was bound to follow in Europe’s footsteps.

“In only two of the past 40 years have we replaced our population. We’re on the same track as Europe. The church and family are in crisis,” she said.

Anti-abortion fake health clinics, such as those operated by Obria, undermine people’s access to contraceptives and abortion care. These centers are often faith-based, anti-abortion organizations masquerading as medical facilities that deceive patients from obtaining the care they require. In some cases, these centers receive federal funding for their work. As Kirchgaessner noted, “Obria received a $1.7m grant from the Trump administration in March 2019 and is due to receive an additional $3.4m over the next two years.” 

The Obria chief has emerged as a force in the conservative and Catholic anti-choice movement that has sought to siphon public funds away from healthcare clinics like Planned Parenthood, which provide reproductive care and abortion services.

Obria received a $1.7m grant from the Trump administration in March 2019 and is due to receive an additional $3.4m over the next two years. The designation is controversial because such federal family planning funds – known as title X funding – was until recently only offered to groups that offered women access to contraception and referrals and counseling for abortion services.