Kamala Harris and her pro-abortion donor base
Senator Kamala Harris’ 2016 senate campaign was supported by several large donors who were executives at pro-abortion groups. Harris went on to repeatedly grilljudicial nominees on abortion while in the Senate.
Harris is considered a champion of the abortion industry. When the Biden campaign announced her inclusion on the ticket in August, Planned Parenthood Action spent five figures on an onlinevideo adpromoting Harris as “OUR Reproductive Health Champion.” Planned Parenthood Votes also released a fact-sheet “Nine Reasons to Love Kamala Harris.”
Harris will participate in the vice presidential debate against Mike Pence on Wednesday, the event is due to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Abortion is a key issue among voters in both parties and, while the topic did not feature prominently in last week’s presidential debate, it is expected to be a central flashpoint between Harris and Pence, with the California senator widely predicted to reaffirm her party’s absolute support for abortion – a key donor and supporter base.
Harris in her 2016 Senate campaign was 11thamong Senate candidates in the amount of contributions she received from the “abortion policy/pro-abortion rights” sector, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. She received $38,830 in total from these groups.
Although Harris ran against another pro-abortion Democrat, Rep. Loretta Sanchez— who had a 100% rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) in 2016—Harris received the endorsement of the national pro-abortion group.
Harris’ campaign hauled in $5,000 from NARAL in 2015, and received two more donations of $2,500 each in 2016. EMILYs List PAC, which works to elect pro-abortion women candidates to political office, contributed $10,000 to Harris’ campaign in 2016, along with earmarking other contributions from individual supporters.
The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights contributed $4,400 to Harris’ election bid in 2016—more than they gave to any other candidate that cycle aside from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
In addition to the support she received directly from these organizations, Harris also benefited from officials at these groups and their affiliates contributing to her 2016 campaign as individual donors.
Linda Wyatt Gruber, a California philanthropist who was formerly on the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, gave $10,000 to the Kamala Harris Victory Fund—Harris’ PAC—in 2016. She also made two donations of $2,700 each to Harris’ campaign that year.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, gave a total of $4,400 from two donations to Harris’ campaign in 2015 and 2016. The current chair of the board of the center, Amy Metzler Ritter, was also listed as a Harris donor in 2016, of $1,000; in a later donation to Senate candidate Mark Kelly, Ritter was listed in her current position as chair of the board at the same address.
A pediatrician at Stanford University who specializes in access to contraception and abortion, Sophia Yen M.D., gave $5,355 to Harris’ campaign in 2015; she contributed another $1,400 to the campaign in 2016. Later in 2019, Yen gave $2,800 to Harris’ presidential campaign.
Yen founded the birth control prescription and delivery business Pandia Health, based in Sunnyvale, California, and has been outspoken about expanding the availability of birth control and abortion.
In July, when the Supreme Court protected the Little Sisters of the Poor from the HHS contraceptive mandate, Yen said the ruling “hurts those with uteri” and “imposes the employers’ religion on the employees.” After Alabama and Georgia passed laws banning most abortions, Pandia Health allowed new customers to sign up for a pledge where the company would donate $5 to pro-abortion groups with every purchase.
Another physician at Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, Glenda Newell-Harris, M.D., gave $3,000 to Harris’ Senate campaign in 2015, and later gave $2,800 to Harris’ presidential campaign in 2019.
Before she was elected to the Senate, Harris served as attorney general of California, and before that was the San Francisco district attorney. In 2016, she received critical support from Bay-area philanthropists and influential donors.
Two members of the board of trustees for Planned Parenthood of Northern California, based in San Francisco, were donors to Harris’ 2016 Senate campaign.
Mary Jung, currently on the San Francisco Arts Commission, gave $850 to Harris’ 2016 senate campaign and in 2019 gave $1,000 to Harris’ presidential campaign.
Loren Kieve of Kieve Law Offices in San Francisco, was also on the board of trustees of Planned Parenthood of Northern California and made two donations of $2,700 each to Harris’ senate campaign in 2015 and 2016. A Nov., 2015 newsletter of Planned Parenthood of Northern California listed Kieve as a new board member.
Two CEOs at regional Planned Parenthood affiliates donated to Harris’ campaign in 2016, and even to her presidential campaign in 2019.
Susan E. Dunlap, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, made two donations of $1,000 each to Harris’ campaign in 2016, and gave another $1,000 to Harris’ presidential campaign in 2019.
A board member of Planned Parenthood-Illinois Action, Bernadette Chopra, gave $1,500 to Harris’ campaign in 2015.
Two doctors who were instrumental in the creation of the HHS contraceptive mandate were also Harris donors in the 2016 cycle.
In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) charged a panel of doctors to report on preventive care “gaps” that needed addressing. Congress had passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and HHS was drafting its guidelines and rules to implement the law’s preventive services mandate.
This panel, the “Committee on Preventive Services for Women,” recommended that the HHS mandate the “full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling” be covered in health plans, cost-free. This “range” of drugs and procedures included the Plan-B emergency contraceptive, which can act as an abortifacient.
The HHS accepted all the panel’s recommendations and crafted its contraceptive mandate that employers cover these drugs and procedures in their health plans; as many religious non-profits and businesses were not exempt from the mandate, eventually hundreds of lawsuits against the mandate were filed in court, including the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Two of the doctors on this panel were Harris donors; panel chair Linda Rosenstock, the dean emeritus at University of California Los Angeles school of public health, made two donations of $1,000 each to Harris’ campaign in 2016. Kimberly Gregory of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles also gave $1,000 to Harris’ campaign in 2015.
Another Bay-area doctor, Dr. Nancy Milliken, helped found the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center which offers abortions, among other services. She gave $2,700 to Harris’ campaign in 2015, and four years later contributed $2,800 to Harris’ presidential campaign. She called the panel’s mandate of cost-free contraceptive coverage “central,” in a 2011 UCSF publication.
After she won her 2016 Senate campaign, Harris was appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee in January of 2018—a prominent assignment where senators vet Supreme Court and federal judicial nominees, and executive appointees. In her time on the committee, she repeatedly pressed nominees on the issue of abortion, including her grilling of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
In Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in September of 2018, Harris asked him about abortion and the “right to privacy,” and whether he thought a 20-week abortion ban was constitutional. She cited a letter by 31 “reproductive rights groups,” including by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, that stated concern about Kavanaugh.
In 2018, Harris also grilled three other federal judicial nominees about their membership in the Knights of Columbus, citing the Catholic group’s opposition to abortion, in line with Church teaching, and asking nominees if they were “aware” of that stance when they joined the Knights and if they agreed with it.
Harris asked nearly a dozen nominees about the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. She also repeatedly brought up Roe v. Wade and asked nominees where they stood on the Supreme Court’s 1973 abortion ruling.