Commentary Politics

Michelle Obama’s Garden Is Political

Natasha Chart

People who think food is apolitical don't know much about food, just like people who think taking care of kids isn't important don't know much about kids. Devaluing either isn't just ignorant, it's dismissive of the women who take on these essential roles to life and society.

Read more on so-called feminist critiques of First Lady Michelle Obama here. 

Michelle Cottle recently wrote a deservedly maligned hit piece in Politico Magazine about First Lady Michelle Obama called “Leaning Out: How Michelle Obama Became a Feminist Nightmare.” It was the umpteenth article to come out that could have been titled “Why Isn’t Michelle Obama Meeting Everybody’s Expectations?”

Inevitably, such articles must point out how popular the first lady is, and how much everyone likes her—except, supposedly, feminists. Really? Did someone take a poll? Was there a referendum? Are feminists just the handful of professional opinion writers and one university staffer quoted in Cottle’s article? If so, these are sad days for the movement; the activists of Respect ABQ Women, for one, are sure to be ticked when they find out they don’t exist.

Mainly, though, I would like to take issue with Cottle’s dismissal of Michelle Obama’s gardening as the first in a list of “safely, soothingly domestic causes.”

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As Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, is quoted as saying in Cottle’s article, “How can you hate a vegetable garden?”

Here’s how, courtesy of the Mid America CropLife Association, an industry association for large agricultural chemical manufacturers, from March 2009:

Did you hear the news? The White House is planning to have an “organic” garden on the grounds to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the Obama’s and their guests. While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made Janet Braun, CropLife Ambassador Coordinator and I shudder. As a result, we sent a letter encouraging them to consider using crop protection products and to recognize the importance of agriculture to the entire U.S. economy.

This statement from the group’s letter to the first lady is worth some analysis: “Congratulations on recognizing the importance of agriculture in America!” It comes off as condescending, and it is. Though the agribusiness industry works hard to downplay the importance and power of agriculture in the United States, unless you happen to be an elected official. In public, they hide behind “family” farmers who run massive factory feedlots or whose crops span hundreds of acres. In the corridors of power, at the behest of agribusiness, semi-official United States farm policy has been “get big or get out” since the Nixon administration.

Agriculture, a massive and highly consolidated industry run by a few powerful monopolies, works largely on a model of dictatorial control over farmers and ranchers, backed by a paid, private court system for negotiating contract disputes. The absolute geographic monopolies of meat packers and crop commodity companies often means that if a conventional farmer criticizes these extremely vindictive corporations, they often have no one to sell to and may have to leave the business.

Even when farmers try to get out of this system, by going organic or trying other distribution models, they still aren’t safe from malicious lawsuits over genetically modified organism (GMO) contamination of their crops. Undaunted in leading the way toward a new model are the latest generation of female farmers in the United States prioritizing a sustainable and organic agricultural practice that rejects synthetic crop chemicals.

Most of these women farmers work at a small scale, earning less than $25,000 a year. It’s easy to look at this as a new trend but it isn’t; not historically, not as a world cultural norm.

Women have farmed, have grown food that sustained people’s lives, for as long as there has been farming. Except that when women do it, it has usually been referred to as gardening, or perhaps being the farmer’s wife.

But in cities and on small-scale farms all over the world, women are continuing a longstanding tradition of trying to make up their families’ food deficits with few resources and little support.

In developing countries, women account for 60 to 80 percent of food production, but receive only 5 percent of government agricultural services. While organic and particularly small-scale agriculture has a much smaller place in U.S. food production than it does in many other countries—something that’s been true since the Dustbowl era and the Great Depression, when we began a major shift away from smallholder agriculture that’s accelerated faster over time—it’s still underfunded relative to its market share.

The multinational conglomerates that dominate U.S. and world agriculture would like to keep things that way, with any alternatives to large-scale factory farming and chemical agriculture ignored, underfunded, or delegitimized. They would rather people not find out that artificial scarcity and poverty are bigger drivers of hunger than the size of the food supply, or that expanding organic agriculture is compatible with improving global food security. They would prefer you to believe that we are all going to starve unless everyone uses their genetically modified crops and factory farming methods.

In the face of that, First Lady Michelle Obama decided she was going to have an organic vegetable garden.

Not being on her staff or a member of her inner circle, I have no idea if Mrs. Obama shares my views on the importance or role of organic agriculture. But I’d be surprised if she didn’t know even before getting that industry letter that some people regard it as a dangerous political statement to make a point of growing food without synthetic crop chemicals, some of which have been linked to rising obesity, among other concerns. Since crop chemical manufacturers have effectively prevented most systematic government research into the public health effects of their products as they are likely to be present in the environment for farm workers and consumers, information about potential harm comes out in isolated bits of information that are impossible for most people to keep track of. Eating organic is, while imperfect and too often expensive, the only way to opt out of this massive, uncontrolled public health experiment.

I also haven’t been given the inside scoop on the rationale for her healthy eating campaign, but the food industry loves it when people think that recommending a diet high in fresh, low-sugar foods is apolitical—something nice, meaningless, or insubstantial. Large corporations spent several decades and many millions of dollars stifling research on the health effects of sugar alone, and lobbying to end any official government mention of even the possibility of a relation between sugar and any health problems. Everyone with a big cash stake in the food industry, from meat producers to chemical manufacturers, weighs in on U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional standards and health recommendations without regard to anything but securing higher profit margins.

So it’s kind of a BFD, as Joe Biden might say, to raise these topics at all.

Both the implied support for organic food and a diet focused on fresh, unprocessed foods, are stances that I was glad to see the first lady taking. Coming from the food policy world, I’d say they’re highly political and incredibly important to the country’s health and future.

Do I wish she’d handled the politics around food issues differently? No—though I do appreciate the work she’s done to raise awareness, work for which I’d note that she is not being paid. Michelle Obama’s friendly, low-key educational campaign has done a great deal to directly reach children as they’re forming habits for a lifetime, children that more typical forms of activism would not have been able to speak to. If kids are going to have any counterweight to the bombardment of advertising for processed food, and can get that from a beloved first lady who’s an impressive role model, I count it as more good in the world than most people are likely to achieve in a lifetime.

Positive improvements in people’s lives are ultimately measured by the net benefit to the individual, not the stridency of the argument for those improvements. Given a choice between any number of healthier children and any number of opportunities to rage against the food industry machine, I’d take the healthier children.

Mrs. Obama also accomplished all this on top of deciding to make sure that her own children had at least one parent to always be there for them, at a time in their family’s life when their other parent has a job with an incredibly long, punishing schedule. As many commentators have noted, it’s a revolutionary choice for a Black woman to make, when traditionally their nurturing skills have been devalued unless they were looking after a white family’s children, as if their own, Black children were not really worth the same effort.

Full-time parenting is also a path that many parents, of many backgrounds, usually mothers, have found themselves choosing when they judged that their children needed more attention than it was possible to provide them in conjunction with paid employment. I could defend that in a nuanced way that … that would be totally beside the point.

To endlessly nitpick over women’s individual parenting decisions is to turn feminism from a vital liberation movement directed at oppressive systems into another story of women tearing each other down over the ways we find to survive those systems, turning the empowering narrative of choice sharply against all of us. Once she’s decided to be a parent, if it’s an individual woman’s responsibility to pick a tortuously correct path to motherhood, then there is no room left to discuss the responsibility of society—government, employers, partners, community members—to create a safe and supportive world in which to raise children.

The fact that women will inevitably be made to feel as though every choice we make is wrong somehow should not be taken as a sign that women are bad decision-makers. Rather, it’s proof that the system of oppression we face is invested in making that oppression seem natural and justified, rather than manufactured and malicious. Standing by as a Black woman is repeatedly subjected to that treatment over her personal choices does even more harm, as racist caricatures of Black women have been used at every turn to hold back women’s rights and keep us playing some version of the endless game of respectability politics that we always lose: proving that we’re not like that. Open season on Black women needs to be over.

I digress a bit, because I came here to talk about food. But maybe I don’t, because big politics often hides in the cracks of things that are supposed to seem normal, justified, apolitical, or even natural.

What could be more self-evident than how unimportant food is? Especially when women care about it. Women’s concerns are obviously silly, like the children they foolishly care for. Especially Black women, who are even more wrong about everything they ever do than the typical woman, amirite?

It would be hard to come up with a set of underlying assertions more in service to existing power structures. Food is a multi-billion dollar industry and a necessity of life. Women are a bit more than half the human race, and our potential is woefully underdeveloped. Children are, as the lady sang, the future. And the United States has been dining out on the publicly disrespected work of Black women for too long.

As long as human society remains oppressive, hungry, sick, neglectful of children, and grossly unequal, the place of feminism is to criticize the systems that keep it that way and to build up the oppressed, not to endorse this cruel state of affairs as the inevitable order of the world. If a writer can’t bring themselves to be concerned with lofty affairs like the well-being of children and the quality of our food supply, they’re not up to the task of getting to define feminism in the public eye.

Commentary Economic Justice

The Gender Wage Gap Is Not Women’s Fault, and Here’s the Report That Proves It

Kathleen Geier

The fact is, in every occupation and at every level, women earn less than men doing exactly the same work.

A new report confirms what millions of women already know: that women’s choices are not to blame for the gender wage gap. Instead, researchers at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the progressive think tank that issued the report, say that women’s unequal pay is driven by “discrimination, social norms, and other factors beyond women’s control.”

This finding—that the gender pay gap is caused by structural factors rather than women’s occupational choices—is surprisingly controversial. Indeed, in my years as a journalist covering women’s economic issues, the subject that has been most frustrating for me to write about has been the gender gap. (Full disclosure: I’ve worked as a consultant for EPI, though not on this particular report.) No other economic topic I’ve covered has been more widely misunderstood, or has been so outrageously distorted by misrepresentations, half-truths, and lies.

That’s because, for decades, conservatives have energetically promoted the myth that the gender pay gap does not exist. They’ve done such a bang-up job of it that denying the reality of the gap, like denying the reality of global warming, has become an article of faith on the right. Conservative think tanks like the Independent Women’s Forum and the American Enterprise Institute and right-wing writers at outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Breitbart, and the Daily Caller have denounced the gender pay gap as “a lie,” “not the real story,” “a fairy tale,” “a statistical delusion,” and “the myth that won’t die.” Sadly, it is not only right-wing propagandists who are gender wage gap denialists. Far more moderate types like Slate’s Hanna Rosin and the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson have also claimed that the gender wage gap statistic is misleading and exaggerates disparities in earnings.

According to the most recent figures available from the Census Bureau, for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes only 79 cents, a statistic that has barely budged in a decade. And that’s just the gap for women overall; for most women of color, it’s considerably larger. Black women earn only 61 percent of what non-Hispanic white men make, and Latinas earn only 55 percent as much. In a recent survey, U.S. women identified the pay gap as their biggest workplace concern. Yet gender wage gap denialists of a variety of political stripes contend that gender gap statistic—which measures the difference in median annual earnings between men and women who work full-time, year-round—is inaccurate because it does not compare the pay of men and women doing the same work. They argue that when researchers control for traits like experience, type of work, education, and the like, the gender gap evaporates like breath on a window. In short, the denialists frame the gender pay gap as the product not of sexist discrimination, but of women’s freely made choices.

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The EPI study’s co-author, economist Elise Gould, said in an interview with Rewire that she and her colleagues realized the need for the new report when an earlier paper generated controversy on social media. That study had uncovered an “unadjusted”—meaning that it did not control for differences in workplace and personal characteristics—$4 an hour gender wage gap among recent college graduates. Gould said she found this pay disparity “astounding”: “You’re looking at two groups of people, men and women, with virtually the same amount of experience, and yet their wages are so different.” But critics on Twitter, she said, claimed that the wage gap simply reflected the fact that women were choosing lower-paid jobs. “So we wanted to take out this one idea of occupational choice and look at that,” Gould said.

Gould and her co-author Jessica Schieder highlight two important findings in their EPI report. One is that, even within occupations, and even after controlling for observable factors such as education and work experience, the gender wage gap remains stubbornly persistent. As Gould told me, “If you take a man and a woman sitting side by side in a cubicle, doing the same exact job with the same amount of experience and the same amount of education, on average, the man is still going to be paid more than the woman.”

The EPI report cites the work of Harvard economist Claudia Goldin, who looked at the relative weight in the overall wage gap of gender-based pay differences within occupations versus those between occupations. She found that while gender pay disparities between different occupations explain 32 percent of the gap, pay differences within the same occupation account for far more—68 percent, or more than twice as much. In other words, even if we saw equal numbers of men and women in every profession, two-thirds of the gender wage gap would still remain.

And yes, female-dominated professions pay less, but the reasons why are difficult to untangle. It’s a chicken-and-egg phenomenon, the EPI report explains, raising the question: Are women disproportionately nudged into low-status, low-wage occupations, or do these occupations pay low wages simply because it is women who are doing the work?

Historically, “women’s work” has always paid poorly. As scholars such as Paula England have shown, occupations that involve care work, for example, are associated with a wage penalty, even after controlling for other factors. But it’s not only care work that is systematically devalued. So, too, is work in other fields where women workers are a majority—even professions that were not initially dominated by women. The EPI study notes that when more women became park rangers, for example, overall pay in that occupation declined. Conversely, as computer programming became increasingly male-dominated, wages in that sector began to soar.

The second major point that Gould and Schieder emphasize is that a woman’s occupational choice does not occur in a vacuum. It is powerfully shaped by forces like discrimination and social norms. “By the time a woman earns her first dollar, her occupational choice is the culmination of years of education, guidance by mentors, parental expectations, hiring practices, and widespread norms and expectations about work/family balance,” Gould told Rewire. One study cited by Gould and Schieder found that in states where traditional attitudes about gender are more prevalent, girls tend to score higher in reading and lower in math, relative to boys. It’s one of many findings demonstrating that cultural attitudes wield a potent influence on women’s achievement. (Unfortunately, the EPI study does not address racism, xenophobia, or other types of bias that, like sexism, shape individuals’ work choices.)

Parental expectations also play a key role in shaping women’s occupational choices. Research reflected in the EPI study shows that parents are more likely to expect their sons to enter male-dominated science, technology, engineering, and math (often called STEM) fields, as opposed to their daughters. This expectation holds even when their daughters score just as well in math.

Another factor is the culture in male-dominated industries, which can be a huge turn-off to women, especially women of color. In one study of women working in science and technology, Latinas and Black women reported that they were often mistaken for janitors—something that none of the white women in the study had experienced. Another found that 52 percent of highly qualified women working in science and technology ended up leaving those fields, driven out by “hostile work environments and extreme job pressures.”

Among those pressures are excessively long hours, which make it difficult to balance careers with unpaid care work, for which women are disproportionately responsible. Goldin’s research, Gould said, shows that “in jobs that have more temporal flexibility instead of inflexibility and long hours, you do see a smaller gender wage gap.” Women pharmacists, for example, enjoy relatively high pay and a narrow wage gap, which Goldin has linked to flexible work schedules and a professional culture that enables work/life balance. By contrast, the gender pay gap is widest in highest-paying fields such as finance, which disproportionately reward those able to work brutally long hours and be on call 24/7.

Fortunately, remedies for the gender wage gap are at hand. Gould said that strong enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, greater wage transparency (which can be achieved through unions and collective bargaining), and more flexible workplace policies would all help to alleviate gender-based pay inequities. Additional solutions include raising the minimum wage, which would significantly boost the pay of the millions of women disproportionately concentrated in the low-wage sector, and enacting paid family leave, a policy that would be a boon for women struggling to combine work and family. All of these issues are looming increasingly large in our national politics.

But in order to advance these policies, it’s vital to debunk the right’s shameless, decades-long disinformation campaign about the gender gap. The fact is, in every occupation and at every level, women earn less than men doing exactly the same work. The right alleges that the official gender pay gap figure exaggerates the role of discrimination. But even statistics that adjust for occupation and other factors can, in the words of the EPI study, “radically understate the potential for gender discrimination to suppress women’s earnings.”

Contrary to conservatives’ claims, women did not choose to be paid consistently less than men for work that is every bit as valuable to society. But with the right set of policies, we can reverse the tide and bring about some measure of economic justice to the hard-working women of the United States.

News Law and Policy

Texas Lawmaker’s ‘Coerced Abortion’ Campaign ‘Wildly Divorced From Reality’

Teddy Wilson

Anti-choice groups and lawmakers in Texas are charging that coerced abortion has reached epidemic levels, citing bogus research published by researchers who oppose legal abortion care.

A Texas GOP lawmaker has teamed up with an anti-choice organization to raise awareness about the supposed prevalence of forced or coerced abortion, which critics say is “wildly divorced from reality.”

Rep. Molly White (R-Belton) during a press conference at the state capitol on July 13 announced an effort to raise awareness among public officials and law enforcement that forced abortion is illegal in Texas.

White said in a statement that she is proud to work alongside The Justice Foundation (TJF), an anti-choice group, in its efforts to tell law enforcement officers about their role in intervening when a pregnant person is being forced to terminate a pregnancy. 

“Because the law against forced abortions in Texas is not well known, The Justice Foundation is offering free training to police departments and child protective service offices throughout the State on the subject of forced abortion,” White said.

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White was joined at the press conference by Allan Parker, the president of The Justice Foundation, a “Christian faith-based organization” that represents clients in lawsuits related to conservative political causes.

Parker told Rewire that by partnering with White and anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), TJF hopes to reach a wider audience.

“We will partner with anyone interested in stopping forced abortions,” Parker said. “That’s why we’re expanding it to police, social workers, and in the fall we’re going to do school counselors.”

White only has a few months remaining in office, after being defeated in a closely contested Republican primary election in March. She leaves office after serving one term in the state GOP-dominated legislature, but her short time there was marked by controversy.

During the Texas Muslim Capitol Day, she directed her staff to “ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws.”

Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said in an email to Rewire that White’s education initiative overstates the prevalence of coerced abortion. “Molly White’s so-called ‘forced abortion’ campaign is yet another example that shows she is wildly divorced from reality,” Busby said.

There is limited data on the how often people are forced or coerced to end a pregnancy, but Parker alleges that the majority of those who have abortions may be forced or coerced.

‘Extremely common but hidden’

“I would say that they are extremely common but hidden,” Parker said. “I would would say coerced or forced abortion range from 25 percent to 60 percent. But, it’s a little hard be to accurate at this point with our data.”

Parker said that if “a very conservative 10 percent” of the about 60,000 abortions that occur per year in Texas were due to coercion, that would mean there are about 6,000 women per year in the state that are forced to have an abortion. Parker believes that percentage is much higher.

“I believe the number is closer to 50 percent, in my opinion,” Parker said. 

There were 54,902 abortions in Texas in 2014, according to recently released statistics from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The state does not collect data on the reasons people seek abortion care. 

White and Parker referenced an oft cited study on coerced abortion pushed by the anti-choice movement.

“According to one published study, sixty-four percent of American women who had abortions felt forced or unduly pressured by someone else to have an unwanted abortion,” White said in a statement.

This statistic is found in a 2004 study about abortion and traumatic stress that was co-authored by David Reardon, Vincent Rue, and Priscilla Coleman, all of whom are among the handful of doctors and scientists whose research is often promoted by anti-choice activists.

The study was cited in a report by the Elliot Institute for Social Sciences Research, an anti-choice organization founded by Reardon. 

Other research suggests far fewer pregnant people are coerced into having an abortion.

Less than 2 percent of women surveyed in 1987 and 2004 reported that a partner or parent wanting them to abort was the most important reason they sought the abortion, according to a report by the Guttmacher Institute.

That same report found that 24 percent of women surveyed in 1987 and 14 percent surveyed in 2004 listed “husband or partner wants me to have an abortion” as one of the reasons that “contributed to their decision to have an abortion.” Eight percent in 1987 and 6 percent in 2004 listed “parents want me to have an abortion” as a contributing factor.

‘Flawed research’ and ‘misinformation’  

Busby said that White used “flawed research” to lobby for legislation aimed at preventing coerced abortions in Texas.

“Since she filed her bogus coerced abortion bill—which did not pass—last year, she has repeatedly cited flawed research and now is partnering with the Justice Foundation, an organization known to disseminate misinformation and shameful materials to crisis pregnancy centers,” Busby said.  

White sponsored or co-sponsored dozens of bills during the 2015 legislative session, including several anti-choice bills. The bills she sponsored included proposals to increase requirements for abortion clinics, restrict minors’ access to abortion care, and ban health insurance coverage of abortion services.

White also sponsored HB 1648, which would have required a law enforcement officer to notify the Department of Family and Protective Services if they received information indicating that a person has coerced, forced, or attempted to coerce a pregnant minor to have or seek abortion care.

The bill was met by skepticism by both Republican lawmakers and anti-choice activists.

State affairs committee chairman Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) told White during a committee hearing the bill needed to be revised, reported the Texas Tribune.

“This committee has passed out a number of landmark pieces of legislation in this area, and the one thing I think we’ve learned is they have to be extremely well-crafted,” Cook said. “My suggestion is that you get some real legal folks to help engage on this, so if you can keep this moving forward you can potentially have the success others have had.”

‘Very small piece of the puzzle of a much larger problem’

White testified before the state affairs committee that there is a connection between women who are victims of domestic or sexual violence and women who are coerced to have an abortion. “Pregnant women are most frequently victims of domestic violence,” White said. “Their partners often threaten violence and abuse if the woman continues her pregnancy.”

There is research that suggests a connection between coerced abortion and domestic and sexual violence.

Dr. Elizabeth Miller, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, told the American Independent that coerced abortion cannot be removed from the discussion of reproductive coercion.

“Coerced abortion is a very small piece of the puzzle of a much larger problem, which is violence against women and the impact it has on her health,” Miller said. “To focus on the minutia of coerced abortion really takes away from the really broad problem of domestic violence.”

A 2010 study co-authored by Miller surveyed about 1,300 men and found that 33 percent reported having been involved in a pregnancy that ended in abortion; 8 percent reported having at one point sought to prevent a female partner from seeking abortion care; and 4 percent reported having “sought to compel” a female partner to seek an abortion.

Another study co-authored by Miller in 2010 found that among the 1,300 young women surveyed at reproductive health clinics in Northern California, about one in five said they had experienced pregnancy coercion; 15 percent of the survey respondents said they had experienced birth control sabotage.

‘Tactic to intimidate and coerce women into not choosing to have an abortion’

TJF’s so-called Center Against Forced Abortions claims to provide legal resources to pregnant people who are being forced or coerced into terminating a pregnancy. The website includes several documents available as “resources.”

One of the documents, a letter addressed to “father of your child in the womb,” states that that “you may not force, coerce, or unduly pressure the mother of your child in the womb to have an abortion,” and that you could face “criminal charge of fetal homicide.”

The letter states that any attempt to “force, unduly pressure, or coerce” a women to have an abortion could be subject to civil and criminal charges, including prosecution under the Federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

The document cites the 2007 case Lawrence v. State as an example of how one could be prosecuted under Texas law.

“What anti-choice activists are doing here is really egregious,” said Jessica Mason Pieklo, Rewire’s vice president of Law and the Courts. “They are using a case where a man intentionally shot his pregnant girlfriend and was charged with murder for both her death and the death of the fetus as an example of reproductive coercion. That’s not reproductive coercion. That is extreme domestic violence.”

“To use a horrific case of domestic violence that resulted in a woman’s murder as cover for yet another anti-abortion restriction is the very definition of callousness,” Mason Pieklo added.

Among the other resources that TJF provides is a document produced by Life Dynamics, a prominent anti-choice organization based in Denton, Texas.

Parker said a patient might go to a “pregnancy resource center,” fill out the document, and staff will “send that to all the abortionists in the area that they can find out about. Often that will stop an abortion. That’s about 98 percent successful, I would say.”

Reproductive rights advocates contend that the document is intended to mislead pregnant people into believing they have signed away their legal rights to abortion care.

Abortion providers around the country who are familiar with the document said it has been used for years to deceive and intimidate patients and providers by threatening them with legal action should they go through with obtaining or providing an abortion.

Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, previously told Rewire that abortion providers from across the country have reported receiving the forms.

“It’s just another tactic to intimidate and coerce women into not choosing to have an abortion—tricking women into thinking they have signed this and discouraging them from going through with their initial decision and inclination,” Saporta said.

Busby said that the types of tactics used by TFJ and other anti-choice organizations are a form of coercion.

“Everyone deserves to make decisions about abortion free of coercion, including not being coerced by crisis pregnancy centers,” Busby said. “Anyone’s decision to have an abortion should be free of shame and stigma, which crisis pregnancy centers and groups like the Justice Foundation perpetuate.”

“Law enforcement would be well advised to seek their own legal advice, rather than rely on this so-called ‘training,” Busby said.