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

The Republic Pregnancy Resource Center website provides step-by-step directions from local middle and high schools to their address.

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
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FILE - Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft speaks to reporters on June 29, 2022, at his Capitol office in Jefferson City, Mo. Ashcroft on Tuesday, Jan. 23m 2024, refuted the state auditor's claim that Ashcroft violated state law by not releasing information on cyber security reviews of the state's 116 local election authorities. Ashcroft said at a news conference that the reviews included confidential material that he could not release. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb, File)

Jay Ashcroft, a Republican running for governor in Missouri, spoke at an event hosted by the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center, an anti-abortion facility that allegedly deceives pregnant girls and women and provides them with medical disinformation.

Ashcroft was elected Secretary of State of Missouri in 2016. He launched his campaign for governor last year. He has been endorsed by the anti-abortion group Missouri Right to Life. 

The Republic Pregnancy Resource Center held its annual banquet on May 2 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Republic, Missouri. Ashcroft wrote about attending the event in a social media post and shared a photo of himself addressing the audience.

“I was honored to attend the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center’s 11th Annual Banquet,” Ashcroft wrote. “Thankful for all they do to stand for life.”

The facility’s website claims they “encourage, equip and empower women to make the best decision for them.” They purport to offer free ultrasounds and “abortion, adoption and parenting info and educational resources.”

Reproaction, a prominent abortion rights group, includes the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center in its “Fake Clinic Database.” The database lists facilities that masquerade as pregnancy care providers but actually work to dissuade pregnant people from getting abortions.

According to a 2022 report from Time magazine, at least 2,500 of these fake clinics operate across the United States. They aggressively push pregnant people to consider adoption or parenting as their only options. In some cases, they are reported to show gory videos or photos to scare patients out of considering abortion.

At the time of the Time magazine report, 40% of Google Maps searches in anti-abortion states for “abortion clinic near me” led to these fake clinics. The Republic Pregnancy Resource Center website provides step by step directions from local middle and high schools to their facility.

The Republic Pregnancy Resource Center, and facilities like it, are eligible for tax credits in Missouri. Ashcroft has pledged to preserve those tax credits if elected governor.

“Missouri currently supports these organizations through the Pregnancy Resource Center Tax Credit program, which allows donors to qualified nonprofits to claim tax credits,” his campaign website says.  “As governor, I will prioritize the funding incentives for these crisis centers that support women and children.”

Missouri has a near-total abortion ban with few exceptions. There is currently an effort underway to put a referendum on the November ballot that would protect abortion rights in the state. A similar referendum passed in Ohio last year.

Ashcroft’s opponents in the Republican primary include state Sen. Bill Eigel and Lieutenant Gov. Mike Kehoe. The leading Democratic candidate is state House Rep. Crystal Quade. 

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 6.


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