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Anti-Choice Activists Target Bank of America for Matching Employees’ Planned Parenthood Donations

Nicole Knight

Outside branches and corporate offices in Texas, New Mexico, and North Carolina, protesters this week brandished signs that read “Bank of Abortion” and urged customers to take their money elsewhere.

Anti-choice activists are targeting Bank of America in hopes of forcing the banking giant to stop its policy of matching employee donations to Planned Parenthood. Fewer than 50 of the bank’s 284,000 employees have donated to the health-care organization in 2015.

Outside branches and corporate offices in Texas, New Mexico, and North Carolina, protesters this week brandished signs that read “Bank of Abortion” and urged customers to take their money elsewhere.

“We want to make the sure the world knows that Bank of America is in bed with Planned Parenthood’s killing business,” Tara Shaver, spokesperson for Protest ABQ, the group behind Albuquerque-area protests, said in a phone interview Monday. “Our message is that abortion is bad business.”

Guidelines posted online indicate the bank matches annual individual contributions up to $5,000. Bank of America spokeswoman Tara Burke said in an email that Planned Parenthood is on the list of government-recognized nonprofit organizations that qualify for a match. Burke said fewer than 50 bank employees have donated to Planned Parenthood over the past year, but didn’t describe the policy further.

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Shaver said some bank customers told her they closed their accounts in response to the Albuquerque anti-choice protests. She said she’d like other groups to join in what she hopes will become a national effort.

Employee donation matching programs aren’t uncommon. But Planned Parenthood’s inclusion on lists of acceptable organizations has become a hot-button issue following the release of covert, heavily edited videos and widely discredited accusations that Planned Parenthood breaks fetal tissue donation laws.

Republican lawmakers, working closely with an anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), are pushing to strip Planned Parenthood of federal money, even though abortions account for 3 percent of its services. No state government investigation has uncovered wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood.

The Associated Press reported this month that the administration of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican with staunch anti-choice views, dropped Planned Parenthood from a list of organizations eligible for donations from state employees through the government charitable campaign, although the health-care provider met the eligibility criteria.

In a recent survey by the Daily Signal, corporations like AT&T, Xerox, Coca-Cola, and Ford said they don’t include Planned Parenthood on lists of eligible nonprofits for employee donation matching. Levi Strauss & Co. and Clorox were among those that match contributions to the health-care provider.

Pro-Life Waco, a Texas group targeting Bank of America, says on its website that it has also gone after the Girl Scouts and Susan G. Komen for those organizations’ support for Planned Parenthood.

In light of the protests, Bank of America’s Burke said the company was “watching the recent developments carefully,” and would “adjust” policy as appropriate. The company, she said, does not provide direct support to Planned Parenthood.

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