Setting the Record Straight on the Organization Known As Abolish Human Abortion
This article is about the unified organization known as Abolish Human Abortion, hereinafter referred to as AHA. There is much controversy regarding the organizational structure of AHA. AHA and its leaders have continually rejected this notion, often reciting their mantra, “AHA is not an organization, it’s an ideology.” Opponents reject this arguing that AHA is an organization that acts and operates in a unified and organized manner. The problem, however, is that there has never been any definitive evidence and the legal status of AHA’s leadership structure is not public.
The following statement can be found on AHA’s official website,
AHA is an ideology, not an organization. The abolitionist movement that adheres to this ideology (sometimes also called “AHA”) is a grassroots movement of independent, autonomous groups and individuals. There is no national organization that has any authority over or knowledge of the actions of these groups and individuals. This website simply exists to provide information regarding the ideology of abolitionism, and the administrators thereof cannot speak for any actions of any groups or individuals who use the AHA symbol or abolitionist materials. If you have a complaint about the actions of individual abolitionists in your local area, please address said complaints directly to those individuals.
See this video below of Toby Harmon, a prominent leader of AHA, denying repeatedly that AHA is an organization. He says this at the beginning of the video and then goes into a more detailed discussion of it with Andrew Rappaport at around the 11:45 mark.
In response to the following question, “what exactly is the organizational structure of Abolish Human Abortion and what authority does AHA have over the individual societies?,” these responses were received from various AHA abolitionists and their leaders.
AHA abolitionists (notice I am distinguishing between abolitionists and AHA abolitionists), in many cases, have been led to believe that they are not part of an organized structure with leadership who have control over their individual societies. I certainly was not aware of this when I was part of AHA. I was told, like most of them, that each abolitionist society was independent, and that there was no central authority over them. This is convenient and works well to gain a following, as people believe they are joining a grassroots movement and don’t believe that they have anyone to answer to. Not everyone in AHA is privy to the legal structure of AHA.
So it’s time to set the record straight on exactly what the organizational structure of AHA is, who controls it, and what legal authority the structure has over individual societies. First and foremost, it’s important to cover what they’ve actually admitted to thus far. AHA and its leaders have admitted to:
- the existence of the International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies (ICAS)
- that ICAS is, indeed, a 501(c)(3) organization
- that there is some control behind ICAS
Great, they’ve admitted and acknowledged this, but to what extent? The Abolish Human Abortion website discusses none of the organizational details regarding the International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies and certainly doesn’t reference the legal authority the organization possesses. But so goes the argument, “the International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies is not Abolish Human Abortion.” So let’s clear up some of the minor details here first, then I will prove to you that ICAS cannot be separated from AHA–they are one in the same.
First, contrary to what Nathaniel Robinson attempts to explain, there is a charter, bylaws, structure, voting and top-down control. In fact, the ICAS is currently, according to the Oklahoma Secretary of State website (screenshot), registered under Thomas Russell Hunter, Nathan Mobley, and Brian Biggs. Under the “Purposes” heading of the ICAS bylaws, it clearly states that one of the purposes of ICAS is to provide a platform to represent AHA as a whole, unquestionably tying AHA to ICAS. In the essence of fairness, here is how ICAS defines their organization, and the control over the member societies.
Under section 2.1, “Membership in the Coalition” section of the bylaws, they state,
The corporation shall maintain a list of affiliated organizations. The corporation shall have the power to add and remove the names of organizations from this list for any reason and on any occasion, subject to the other relevant provisions of these bylaws. An organization shall hereafter be called a “member of the Coalition” if and only if its name is present in the aforementioned list to be maintained by the corporation. Likewise, the term “membership in the Coalition” shall refer to the state or condition in which a given organization is a member of the Coalition.
and section 2.2,
The corporation shall have no authority over any member of the Coalition, except the authority to grant or revoke membership in the Coalition, and to perform any actions related thereto. Per the provisions of Section 2.1, members of the Coalition are merely affiliates of the corporation, not chapter organizations or sub-organizations. As such, the corporation shall have no legal authority over, nor legal responsibility for, the independent actions and affairs of the members of the Coalition, which are fully autonomous in their own right.
Fair enough. So they do at least attempt to legally separate the corporation from the independent actions of member societies. This is probably a smart move considering the violent nature and history of some anti-abortion movements, including some of those who are currently part of AHA. But does this really separate all of the societies and members from any authoritative control over the AHA brand? No. Here’s why.
According to the Section 2.3 of the bylaws, the “Necessary Conditions for Membership,” societies must “Adhere to the official positions of the corporation, subject to other relevant provisions of these bylaws,” “be actively meeting and working in its local community,” “maintain an official mailing address,” and many other requirements, and also must be voted in by either a majority vote of the General Committee, or a two-thirds vote by the Board of Directors.
Okay, so who are these people doing the voting? According to section 3.2, Representatives, “Each member of the Coalition shall appoint one representative to participate and vote in the General Committee. These representatives shall be members of the corporation by virtue of their appointment.” It is then these appointed members of the General Committee, made up of representatives from each existing local society, who get to vote on the new applicant societies for membership. So, in essence, the organization gets to decide who its new members are. Further, in Section 3.3 paragraph E, it is a requirement that the corporation keeps a current running list of all its members.
Okay, so this is ICAS, not AHA, and they’ve admitted that ICAS exists. What’s the point? Well, the point is, ICAS cannot be separated from AHA–they are inextricably tied together. Here’s how. Section 2.6, Usage of the Abolish Human Abortion Symbol states:
Now, it’s absolutely clear that ICAS is the owner of the trademark, or “brand,” known as Abolish Human Abortion. In the business world, corporations can own many trademarks, and they can do business as (dba) their trademark names. The corporation can then operate under these trademarks, even to the point of conducting legal business transactions under these names. Long story short, someone could write a check, make it out to “Abolish Human Abortion,” and ICAS would have the legal authority to cash that check.
Further, ICAS has clearly stated in these bylaws that they do, contrary to what they’ve repeatedly claimed publicly, have the authority to police whoever is using their brand name. Simply because they have not chosen to thus far does not negate the fact that they can. Abolish Human Abortion has not been up front about their organizational status, at least according to my extensive research findings. They have repeatedly claimed that they cannot control the actions of the individual societies. Is this true? Well, sort of…but not quite. At least not the way they’ve been representing it. One thing is for sure, they cannot deny the fact that they are an organization. Abolish Human Abortion is not like Calvinism, as argued by Toby Harmon in the video above. Calvinism is not a registered trademark owned, operated, and policed by a governing corporation with the legal ability to revoke the use of the trademark among member societies using the name.
Bottom line. Abolitionism is an ideology. Abolish Human Abortion is a specific, controlled, organized brand of Abolitionism in which anyone wearing or using the Abolish Human Abortion name or logo is subject to the governing authorities of the ICAS, and ICAS has the power, authority, and governing structure to insist that these member societies walk in agreement with the statements, positions, and mission of the corporation–otherwise, you can’t use their logo. Movements and ideologies don’t have this kind of control over them…organizations do.
JD Hall at Polemics Report lists the warning signs of a cult operation. Specifically, cult warning signs #8 and #10 are especially applicable here. Cult warning sign #8 states, “Sub-Christian sects are dishonest about the details of how their organization or ‘fellowship’ operate,” and warning sign #10 states, “Sub-Christian sects prefer to project themselves as movements or ideologies rather than as organizations, in order to insulate themselves from criticism.”
The full text of the bylaws can be found here.
[Contributed by Jeff Maples]
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