search
Sections List
American Journal News

Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate's group refers pregnant people to fake 'medical' centers

Wisconsin Republican Kevin Nicholson founded and ran a conservative nonprofit advocacy group with an anti-abortion agenda.

By Adrian Cole - April 21, 2022
Share
Kevin Nicholson

Kevin Nicholson, a Republican candidate running for governor of Wisconsin, in 2019 founded and ran No Better Friend Corp., a tax-exempt conservative advocacy group whose focus includes opposition to abortion. The group’s efforts include pushing pregnant people to avoid abortion by referring them to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which he called “a super tactical way” of achieving that end.

Nicholson, who is running in the Republican primary for a chance to unseat Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in this fall’s midterm elections, has said he favors banning abortion with no exceptions, not even in cases where the mother’s life may be at risk. This week, the anti-abortion group Pro-Life Wisconsin’s Victory Fund PAC endorsed Nicholson over his Republican primary opponent, former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of @ProLifeWI as we move forward in this gubernatorial campaign,” Nicholson tweeted on Tuesday. “As governor, I’ll end state funding of Planned Parenthood and initiate state funding of existing Pregnancy Resource Centers throughout Wisconsin.”

There are roughly 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the United States. The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health explains what they do:

These fake centers are funded by anti-abortion groups and go by different names like “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) and “pregnancy resource centers.” Their aim is to prevent people who are pregnant from accessing abortion in a timely manner. They advertise services such as pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, counseling, and resources. Some even say they offer abortion referrals. However, in reality, they fail to provide medically accurate information and even mislead women about their abortion care options.

The website Choose Life Wisconsin lists dozens of CPCs in the state. One of them, for example, is the Abiding Care Center in Medford, which claims to offer pregnancy testing, ultrasound services, and medical referrals.

According to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, “These fake centers often use manipulative tactics to get pregnant people to delay real counseling or medical care until it’s too late for a legal abortion.”

The Wisconsin Women’s Health Alliance conducted a study of 20 Wisconsin CPCs and found “100% of Wisconsin-based CPCs advertise ‘options counseling’ on their websites, yet they refuse to offer information on the full range of options available to pregnant people, and actively counsel against abortion.” It also noted that many of them shame and frighten patients into continuing with unwanted pregnancies by claiming that there is a high chance they would experience “mental health challenges” if they had an abortion.

A 2018 report in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics said that while CPCs are technically legal, they “do not meet the standards of accepted medical ethics.”

Despite looking like legitimate clinics, most CPCs are not licensed … and their staff are not licensed medical professionals,” the report’s authors found. “By placing ideology over accurate and comprehensive counseling, CPCs violate respect for a woman’s autonomy by failing to give her the tools necessary to make the decision that is best for her life and circumstances.”

The centers “have a vested interest in the decision outcomes of their clients and are not impartial observers,” Kimberly Kelley, director of the gender studies program at Mississippi State University, told the American Independent Foundation. “CPCs also compel clients to fulfill religiously oriented obligations (regardless of clients’ own beliefs) like attending church services in exchange for material aid such as maternity clothes and formula.”

In the current political climate and with a well-funded anti-abortion movement, CPCs continue to thrive with “unprecedented access” to both state and federal dollars, Kelley said. Wisconsin is one of several states in which abortion bans would automatically come into force again if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. Richard Uihlein, a wealthy Wisconsin businessman and Republican megadonor, has given millions of dollars to anti-abortion Republican candidates like Nicholson.

The group Nicholson founded in 2019, No Better Friend Corp. is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization that takes its name from the Marines’ unofficial slogan, “No better friend, no worse enemy.” Nicholson emphasizes his service in the Marine Corps between 2004 and 2009 when talking to voters.

Nicholson served as the group’s founder and CEO, according to the organization’s 2020 tax filings. His campaign website says, “Kevin founded and previously served as the volunteer President & CEO of No Better Friend Corp.,” while the group’s podcast landing page calls him its “volunteer president.” The group’s website states that it “focuses on promoting conservative ideas and approaches in the areas of economic growth, education, health care, promoting a culture of life, and national defense.”

“The ultimate mission is to move the conservative movement forward, both in our state and beyond,” Nicholson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2019.

During a conversation on the podcast in November 2020 with Claire Culwell, the author of a book called “Survivor: An Abortion Survivor’s Surprising Story of Choosing Forgiveness and Finding Redemption,” Nicholson said, “Crisis pregnancy centers are a super tactical way to help protect people who are facing difficult situations and try to get them to protect life and embrace life.”

No Better Friend Corp.’s former executive director, Darryl Carlson, was one of 10 Republicans who made a fraudulent attempt to award Wisconsin’s electoral votes to former President Donald Trump in 2020 despite Joe Biden having won in the state. Soon after Nicholson announced his candidacy for governor, Carlson’s name was scrubbed from the No Better Friend Corp. website, and Carlson’s LinkedIn profile now identifies him as a fire support officer for the National Guard. 

Nicholson hasn’t always opposed abortion. In 2000, when he was the president of the College Democrats of America, Nicholson spoke onstage at the Democratic National Convention. “We care about a woman’s right to choose,” he said at the time.

Nicholson, a graduate of Harvard Business School and a management consultant, ran in the Wisconsin’s Republican primary race for U.S. Senate in 2018. He lost the primary contest to Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir, who in turn lost the general election to incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


Read More
Dan Patrick rails against spending as state drops thousands on his office upgrades

Dan Patrick rails against spending as state drops thousands on his office upgrades

By Jesse Valentine - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Youngkin vetoes bills on contraception access, skill games, Confederate heritage rollbacks

Youngkin vetoes bills on contraception access, skill games, Confederate heritage rollbacks

By Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury , Nathaniel Cline, Virginia Mercury , Charlie Paullin, Virginia Mercury and Charlotte Rene Woods, Virginia Mercury - May 20, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
SC governor to sign bill banning hormone therapy for transgender youth into law

SC governor to sign bill banning hormone therapy for transgender youth into law

By Skylar Laird, South Carolina Daily Gazette - May 09, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
AJ News
Latest
Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

By Jesse Valentine - June 11, 2024
Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

By Jesse Valentine - June 10, 2024
Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

By Jesse Valentine - June 06, 2024
Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

By Jesse Valentine - May 24, 2024
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Judge strikes down Florida gender-affirming care restrictions for minors and adults

Judge strikes down Florida gender-affirming care restrictions for minors and adults

By Orion Rummler, Louisiana Illuminator - June 12, 2024
‘We need something that works’: Activists call for more resources for gun violence prevention

‘We need something that works’: Activists call for more resources for gun violence prevention

By Lucy Valeski, Michigan Advance - June 07, 2024
‘Democracy begins with each of us,’ Biden says at site of D-Day invasion in Normandy

‘Democracy begins with each of us,’ Biden says at site of D-Day invasion in Normandy

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - June 07, 2024
Nessel, House LGBTQ+ Caucus warn that Trump and GOP endanger hard-fought rights 

Nessel, House LGBTQ+ Caucus warn that Trump and GOP endanger hard-fought rights 

By Jon King, Michigan Advance - June 06, 2024