Revealed: 'Nominal Christians' a top threat to right-wing group behind abortion pill ban

Revealed: 'Nominal Christians' a top threat to right-wing group behind abortion pill ban

A medical group behind the effort to ban the abortion drug mifepristone that describes itself as a “secular, scientific medical association” appears to be far less secular and science-oriented than it claims, according to new reporting from Wired.

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), which is suing the federal government to limit access to the abortion drug, has for years sought to conceal the extent to which its religious views inform its public policy initiatives, according to a cache of leaked documents obtained by Wired.

ACPeds advocates for banning abortion and affirmative care for transgender youth, and wants to eliminate the parental rights of non-heterosexual couples.

The legal status of mifepristone will be determined by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a case that’s expected to start later this month after the U.S. Supreme Court halted a district court ruling that would have banned the drug nationwide.

Jill Simons, the group's executive director, on Friday told The Daily Signal, a blog published by the conservative Heritage Foundation, that “they don't want to debate us because they can't beat us on the facts and the science.”

But the leaked documents suggest the group hasn’t accurately represented its beliefs or its agenda.

Dell Cameron and Dhruv Mehrotra write for Wired that “Board meeting minutes dated as far back as 2014 raise questions about the group's candor in its public portrayals of its work and the means by which it arrives at seemingly medical-based recommendations."

According to minutes from a 2017 board meeting obtained by Wired: “Threats to the College include the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and the LGBTQ lobbying body, as well as mainstream medicine, psychology, academia, media, corporate America and nominal Christians, churches and organizations.”

According to Cameron and Mehrotra, “Despite its homages to science, the views of ACPeds and its board are deeply rooted in a morality based exclusively in evangelical religious beliefs. Notes taken at board meetings, which open and close with prayer, show that its directors view consensus science, people who hold advanced degrees, and even the law itself as a threat to its agenda. Prayer is prescribed as ‘armor’ against the group’s perceived adversaries, which include other Christians whose devotion they’ve judged to be inadequate.”

The group also promoted “conversion therapy,” the controversial practice that Cameron and Mehrotra assert are “widely condemned by major medical associations as both pointless and potentially harmful to subjects with a same-sex orientation.”

But ACPeds have shown a willingness to find common ground with gay, lesbian, and bisexual people “provided they prove useful in furthering the persecution of transgender people.”

A quote attributed to a physician and teacher at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, where students are taught to perform biblical-style faith-healing miracles, sums up the group’s attitude when it comes to forging alliances with opponents of trans rights.

“We find friends in unlikely places,” the quote reads. “Trans ideology has LGB enemies.”

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