Pro-Abortion Law Firm Threatens Over Secret Memo Story

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 12, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Law Firm Threatens Over Secret Memo Story

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
December 12, 2003

Helena, MT ( — The Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion law firm, has sent a letter to threatening legal action against it. The letter complains about a story regarding a pro-life organization that received internal documents written by the firm detailing its strategy to develop international pro-abortion laws that can be imposed and enforced throughout the world.

The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (CFAM), a pro-life group that lobbies at the United Nations, announced earlier this month that an anonymous source sent it a copy of a 60-page document summarizing the conclusions of strategic planning meetings held by CRR in late October.

In a story published by, an independent news agency specifically devoted to reporting news that affects the pro-life community, the documents were called a "smoking gun" belying the tactics pro-abortion groups have denied for years.

The story prompted CRR President Nancy Northup to fire off a cease and desist letter to asking the pro-life news outlet to return copies of the internal memos and to pull the story from the web site.

"[T]he Center demands that you immediately … cease and desist from any further dissemination, by whatever means, including written, email, fax, oral, or electronic, of the CRR Confidential Documents, or any information derived from, or in any way based on, the CRR Confidential Documents," Northup’s letter said.

Steven Ertelt, Editor and CEO of, says the news service has no intention of complying.

"At the heart of the first amendment right to free speech is the ability of the media to report the truth," Ertelt said. "It’s about time that the radical pro-abortion, anti-woman agenda of groups like this be exposed and brought to light. It’s not our problem if abortion advocates are embarrassed by their words or actions."

Northup claims the distribution of the memos by CFAM and’s story on them "has caused, and further disclosure will cause, CRR irreparable harm."

The pro-abortion firm’s memo also asks to disclose its entire list of subscribers to its email news services that received the story.

"This pro-abortion group will not have access to our subscriber lists at any time or for any reason," Ertelt explained. "For more than 10 years we have provided the strictest confidentiality to our subscribers to prevent them from receiving unwanted emails. We have never loaned our email lists to anyone — including pro-life organizations — and that privacy policy will always remain in place."

The internal documents state that CRR’s "overarching goal is to ensure that governments worldwide guarantee reproductive rights out of an understanding that they are bound to do so."

CRR lobbies diplomats to include phrases such as "reproductive health" in treaties and other international documents. Later they define such innocuous phrase to include an unfettered right to abortion.

In the documents, CRR states that this technique is preferred because "There is a stealth quality to the work: we are achieving incremental recognition of values without a huge amount of scrutiny from the opposition."