GoFundMe Raises Money for Abortion Groups

Fundraising tech giant launches $500,000 charity benefit for abortion providers and their dark money political operations

Planned Parenthood CEO Leana Wen / Getty Images
June 26, 2019

Tech giant GoFundMe is seeking to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for abortion providers and their political campaigns.

The crowd-funding website has launched an ambitious campaign that aims to raise $500,000 to "fight back" against limits on late-term abortion. The money will be used to benefit Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund—a dark money group that pays for political and lobbying operations—the American Civil Liberties Union, and other abortion organizations nationwide. The fundraiser notes that 40 percent of the money raised by the campaign will go to the Action Fund and ACLU's own dark money group. Both groups are registered as 501(c)4 groups with the IRS and neither discloses its donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

"Reproductive rights are human rights, and GoFundMe is proud to join this movement and work alongside these organizations fighting to protect women all across the country," GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon said in a release.

The website has taken to promoting the campaign on social media. GoFundMe has made the abortion fundraiser its top post on Twitter, "pinning" a June 21 announcement of the campaign for its nearly 660,000 followers.

The company pledged a $25,000 donation to the effort, but the campaign has only raised $40,000 from 303 donors over its first five days despite being shared 4,400 times on social media websites. Planned Parenthood CEO and president Leana Wen was grateful to see the tech giant use its fundraising clout to fight for abortion. She said laws that limit the practice based upon an unborn child's heartbeat or ability to feel pain are "dangerous attacks" on Americans. Planned Parenthood stands to receive 37.5 percent of all contributions to the campaign; its dark money group will pocket 20 percent with only 17.5 percent going to its tax deductible 501(c)3 nonprofit operations.

"We are so grateful to GoFundMe for this unprecedented effort to support Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood Action Fund through this fundraising effort, alongside our trusted allies working to protect and expand access to abortion care," she said in a statement. "Planned Parenthood has declared a state of emergency for reproductive health in America, and it requires a true emergency response. Thanks to GoFundMe, our millions of supporters will have a new way to fight back against these dangerous attacks on people's health and defend access to reproductive health care for all."

Planned Parenthood is one of the largest campaign spending groups in the country, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Planned Parenthood spends more than $1 million each year lobbying the federal government and has concentrated its campaign efforts on outside spending with nearly all of its money going to benefit Democrats. The abortion provider has spent more than $40 million on outside spending campaigns since 2012, including $8.5 million on the 2018 midterm elections and nearly $15 million on the 2016 presidential election, making it among the top 25 biggest spenders in the country.

ACLU spent about $1.4 million on outside spending during the 2018 midterms, edging out the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action as the 19th largest political nonprofit spender, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The legal coalition will receive 37.5 percent of all donations from the fundraiser with more money going to its dark money political operations than its tax-deductible nonprofit. ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said the fundraiser would help fuel legal challenges and political campaigns moving forward.

"With your help, the ACLU is part of a broad coalition fighting these restrictions in the streets, in the statehouses, and in courthouses across the country," Romero said in a release.

Despite Planned Parenthood's considerable political influence, GoFundMe has sought to paint its fundraising campaign as an uphill battle. It said the money will help people procure abortions, but also "help continue on-the-ground organizing in states to protect access, build the movement, and ensure elected officials everywhere support comprehensive reproductive health care" ahead of the 2020 elections.