Sharona Coutts is an investigative reporter, and Vice President of Investigations and Research at Rewire. She has exposed fraud and abuse in areas including pension funds, financial firms, for-profit colleges, aged-care, and New York City schools. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, nationally-syndicated radio programs, as well as dozens of other publications.
For Rewire, Coutts has overseen the creation of a new national database relating to reproductive rights, and her work has repeatedly undermined false anti-choice claims about abortion. Coutts graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and worked for three years at ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom in Manhattan. Prior to joining Rewire, Coutts led the investigative team at The Global Mail, an online publication based in her hometown, Sydney, Australia. Coutts holds a law degree, and clerked for a justice of the High Court of Australia.
HUSH relies almost exclusively on interviews with renowned anti-choice “experts” whose work has been discredited. They trot out many of the worn theories that have been rejected by medical and public health experts. The innovation of HUSH, however, is that it has reframed these discredited ideas within the construct of a conspiracy theory.
“David Daleiden contacted our agency May 21st of 2015 and filed a criminal report against StemExpress here in Placerville,” a spokesperson at the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office told Rewire. “All he was, was a reporting party. He didn’t consult with us and he didn’t cooperate with us. In fact, I’d characterize him as uncooperative.”
An amicus brief filed in a federal court case provided an opportunity for journalists to state in clear terms why David Daleiden's claims to be an investigative reporter endanger the profession and its goal: to safeguard democracy by holding the powerful to account and keeping the public informed.
Women who have visited almost any abortion clinic in the United States have seen anti-choice protesters outside, wielding placards and chanting abuse. A Boston advertiser's technology, when deployed by anti-choice groups, allows those groups to send propaganda directly to a woman’s phone while she is in a clinic waiting room.
A Rewire investigation published earlier this year told the story of a 17-year-old girl and her mother who were targeted by an array of anti-choice activists who meddled in the teen's medical care, in an effort to thwart her ability to obtain an abortion. Stephen Crampton was at the center of this effort.
“Evidence of wrongdoing at Brigham’s American Women’s Services facility in Fairfax is part of a clear pattern of repeated and serious misconduct that poses a significant threat to patient safety, and which cannot be allowed to go unchecked in Virginia," said Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.
Providers throughout the country have told Rewire that a document produced by Life Dynamics has been used to deceive and intimidate both patients and providers by threatening them with legal action should they go through with obtaining or providing an abortion.
Most people would consider it unusual to pick a corrections facility if they were in the market for a breast exam. But that’s exactly what is suggested by a new website launched last month by 17 of the nation’s most prominent anti-choice groups.
Just 158 families have provided nearly half of all the money donated to White House contenders so far. But the two families that have contributed the most to presidential campaigns also give prolifically to anti-choice groups and candidates.
A careful review of the Center for Medical Progress' footage and the accompanying transcript makes clear that CMP's central claims were wrong, and also that what the group left out of its edited work was just as important as what it included.
Rewire has identified at least three names that appear to have been used as pseudonyms by Center for Medical Progress operatives. One of these names appears to belong to a childhood acquaintance of the group’s apparent ringleader, David Daleiden.
Operatives from the sham company Center for Medical Progress, set up under questionable circumstances specifically to attack Planned Parenthood, appear to have used alcohol as a means toward getting providers to talk more freely.
The move is a welcome step toward protecting women in the states in which clinics of criminal abortion provider Steven Brigham have operated, but the question remains as to why it took regulators so long to act.
Comments made last year by a senior attorney at the Alliance Defending Freedom could have enormous implications for how Americans now grapple with the development of LGBTQ rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on same-sex marriage.
Over the past week, our story about a California lawmaker who suggested the state's drought represents God's wrath over abortion has gained significant traction in state and national media. Now Grove is desperately trying to walk back from her embarrassing gaffe.
During a five-month review of more than 200 lawsuits, and interviews with lawyers and public health experts, Rewire found that drug treatment for incarcerated women is inconsistent and inadequate—and in some incidents, it is fatal.
Rewire has identified at least a dozen instances of women experiencing miscarriages, stillbirths, and ectopic pregnancies in jails and prisons across the country, in circumstances that show a shocking lack of medical care from the professionals charged with providing it.
In this first part of Rewire's Women, Incarcerated series, we focus on one woman's prison time—which involved a high-risk pregnancy, forced induced labor, and shackling—to illustrate the problems that thousands of women face behind bars.
The State of the Union address can often feel like a cheer-fest. But last night, there was one moment in which the audience met a sentence obviously intended to be an applause line with profound silence instead.
The emails show Texas’ key consultant putting words into the mouths of the state’s so-called expert witnesses, attempting to persuade them to selectively exclude data that did not match his anti-choice bias, and, in one case, walking extremely close to the line of outright ghostwriting what were supposed to be independent reports.
Once a legislature accepts bogus facts, a larger problem can arise: Courts will frequently defer to the factual findings of state legislatures, which provides a gaping loophole for junk science to wend its way into judicial decisions all the way up to the Supreme Court.
Since 2010, Sean Fieler, a New Jersey-based hedge fund manager and fervent Catholic, has personally contributed nearly $18 million to political candidates and causes that align with his anti-choice, anti-LGBT, and pro-theocracy views, according to an analysis of tax filings and campaign finance records by Rewire.
A recent investigation by Rewire demonstrates that Nebraska’s attorney general, like numerous others throughout the country, has particularly close relationships with extreme sections of the anti-choice movement, and that many extreme right-wing and fundamentalist Christian groups enjoy a high degree of access with government officials.
While national attention is focused on the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, researchers and advocates in different cities across the country are pointing out the obvious—this problem is larger than one town.
Why is the Becket Fund expending so much time and money fighting against filling out a form—a requirement that, at first blush, seems like no big deal? As you’ll see, the implications of this brilliant legal strategy are anything but boring.
The Susan B. Anthony List is known for misleading ads. So it may come as a small surprise that a recent ad it sponsored featuring the Ryun family doesn't mention the family patriarch's long history as a Republican operative with close links to the Tea Party and the Koch brothers.
In her recent—at moments, hilarious—article about the race to make millions by "appifying" the laundry business, Jessica Pressler repeats some surprising and infuriating tropes about the service economy that are, frankly, retrograde for women.
Welcome to the world of the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, an annual program established in 2000 by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based nonprofit that is swiftly emerging as a major behind-the-scenes player in many of the nation’s most controversial legal cases involving reproductive rights, sexual justice, and a vast range of other moral and social disputes.
A job posting on West Virginia's Mingo County Board of Education website lists two available positions at Burch Middle School, which is at the center of explosive allegations that school officials conspired to cover up allegations of sexual assault of minors on school grounds and on school buses in order to protect the perpetrators, who were allegedly related to officials at the board of education.
Authorities in West Virginia have alleged that “multiple” girls at Burch Middle School in Delbarton, in the western part of the state, were sexually abused and assaulted by two male students, and that school authorities threatened and retaliated against the girls when they attempted to pursue punishment for the offenders.
North Dakota is far from alone in spending large sums to defend anti-choice laws. But what makes the state unusual is that fiscal conservatives are now criticizing a double standard, where the lawmakers backing these bills are more regularly seen opposing other instances of what they call government interference, and decrying so-called “big spending.”
There is now proof positive that Byron Calhoun, an anti-choice doctor who has been influential in West Virginia politics, grossly overstated the number of abortion-related complications that are treated at Charleston Area Medical Center Women and Children's Hospital in West Virginia each year.
It's "ironic," explained state Rep. Peggy Gibson. Harold Cassidy, a lawyer and self-style anti-choice crusader, is “invasive of women’s private affairs, and then he says his affairs are private, when women have no right to privacy."
A West Virginia legislator has filed a complaint against well-known anti-choice physician Byron Calhoun for breach of at least two codes of conduct and is calling on West Virginia University to respond on why action has not been taken against Calhoun, who teaches there.
West Virginia pro-choice advocates are calling for anti-choice activist Dr. Byron Calhoun, who made headline-grabbing claims about the safety of abortion procedures in the state, to either provide evidence of said claims or face disciplinary actions at West Virginia University, where he is employed as the OB-GYN department vice chair.
If New Jersey’s attorney general succeeds in the current administrative proceedings, that state will permanently revoke Dr. Steven C. Brigham's medical license, leaving him without any valid credentials to practice medicine in the United States.
Our searchable tool has been updated to include final responses from 48 state attorneys general and 41 state health departments about a wide range of issues involving abortion. The additional responses support our earlier analysis—that abortion in the United States is overwhelmingly safe and highly regulated.
Given the anticipated push for anti-choice laws in the state’s 2014 legislative session, it’s worth carefully examining Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s claims about the regulation of abortion providers alongside what the evidence says—and doesn’t say—about the safety of abortion services in the Mountain State.
Based on the evidence provided by states themselves, it is more than a little misleading for the House Judiciary Committee to suggest that newborn children are being murdered by abortion providers with regularity and abandon; it is myth-making and fear-mongering.
An analysis of documents requested by two congressional committees from state departments of health and attorneys general show that states overwhelmingly share a muscular approach to regulating abortion, and there is virtually no evidence that patients are being harmed.
The documents, which were requested by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in May, show that the state already had one of the nation’s most proactive and aggressive systems to police abortion services and ensure that facilities were complying with those rules.
Anti-choice campaigners have attempted to tar all abortion providers with the crimes of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. But a close reading of a state inspection report on a Cuyahoga Falls clinic shows that the problems identified there—while serious—were of a different order of magnitude to anything found at Gosnell’s clinic.
Since the early 1990s, public records show, Brigham’s patients have suffered emergency hysterectomies, severe bowel injuries, severed ureters, and sweeping lacerations to the uterus. Over a period of two decades, Brigham has been barred from practicing medicine in at least six states, sued by his landlords and business associates, and even served jail time for failing to pay taxes. And yet today, Brigham remains in control of a network of 15 abortion clinics in four states, and there appears little that most state authorities are able—or willing—to do about it.
U.S. District Court Judge Edward R. Korman today delivered a scorching critique of the Obama administration’s policies, saying that the FDA's decision-making on EC has been corrupted by political influence.
The judgment is littered with scathing descriptions of bad faith, politically-motivated maneuvering, and unbelievable wastes of time and taxpayers’ money as well as jaw-dropping legal mistakes—all of which go well beyond the language one expects to find in typical legal opinions.
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