The Same Hate Group That Helped Write Mississippi’s Abortion Ban Has Trained “Freedom” Foundation Attorneys

A virulently anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ group called Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) claims to have written the Mississippi abortion law now being considered by the Supreme Court. The “draft” majority opinion leaked from that case threatens decades of health autonomy and privacy for women as enshrined by Roe v Wade. According to ADF leadership, that was the plan all along.

The ADF, based in Scottsdale, AZ, is already designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its work to recriminalize the LGBTQ community here and supporting state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad. They have also aimed their Christian extremism against women’s reproductive freedom, allegedly supplying model legislation to the state of Mississippi that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of gestation.

At a 2018 “Evangelicals for Life” conference, ADF senior attorney Denise Burke claimed Mississippi lawmakers used ADF’s model bill, which was designed to provoke a challenge from abortion rights groups and make its way up through the appeals courts. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has taken that exact path.

Burke said, “We’re kind of basically baiting them; come on, fight us on turf that we have already set up and established… Once we get these first-trimester limitations in place, we’re going to go for a complete ban on abortion, except to save the life of the mother.” 

ADF directs another part of its $60 million budget to train right-wing Christian attorneys through the Blackstone Legal Fellowship. It was established to inspire a “distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law,” according to tax records obtained by the Washington Post, which also reported on Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s five paid speeches to Fellowship attendees. 

Some alumni of the hate group’s training have ended up, concerningly, in influential government positions including Deputy District Attorney, State Representative, and Attorney General staff. Other graduates have joined forces with extremist groups like the “Freedom” Foundation of Olympia, WA, which has hired at least three Blackstone Legal Fellows for its failing attack on organized workers along the West Coast.

A tragedy is unfolding at the highest court in our land, ready to steal reproductive freedom from half of our population and set our nation’s progress back decades. It would be a reversal that most Americans don’t even agree with. This is not just about a “conservative” majority on the Supreme Court. Extremist anti-choice groups like Alliance Defending Freedom have been plotting this assault for a long time with deep pockets and visions of forcing their church on our state.