Despite the mission statement of Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, stating the organization vows to maintain “independence and impartiality,” the president and CEO of the nonprofit once led a state branch of Planned Parenthood.
The revelation comes in the wake of the magazine’s recent article pushing abortion as birth control.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Consumer Reports, the respected periodical that has advised Americans on everything from new car purchases to which electric can opener to buy, published in its February 2005 issue a list of birth-control options that includes abortion, complete with a section describing how the procedure gets rid of a pregnant mother’s “uterine contents.”
Along with an analysis report on condoms, Consumer Reports provides both a comparative guide to other contraceptive methods and a page entitled “Birth control: More and safer choices,” which includes discussion of abortion.
Pro-life activists have criticized the magazine for failing to list the downsides and alternatives to abortion, and for referring readers to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s No. 1 abortion provider.
Though Consumers Union in its mission statement also says it has “no agenda other than the interests of consumers,” a review of the backgrounds of both the top executive and key staff members reveals information that could belie such a noble purpose.
According to an online bio, James A. Guest, the organization’s president and CEO, previously headed Planned Parenthood of Maryland. He also worked for a time as a legislative assistant to Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and led anti-firearms groups Handgun Control Inc. and the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.
Many staff at the organization who are involved in advocacy work also have experience with Democratic politicians and pushing various “progressive” causes such as public health care and expanded environmental health regulations.
Jean Halloran, the director of Consumer Union’s Consumer Policy Institute, was on the staff of President Carter’s Council on Environmental Quality and has worked on researching the “consumer impact of land development projects.”
Another staffer, Michael McCauley, has logged time with left-wing organizations Greenbelt Alliance, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice and Public Citizen’s Congress Watch.
A graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley, Gail Hillebrand is a Consumers Union lawyer who previously clerked for Judge Robert Boochever of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, often described as the most left-leaning court of appeals in the nation.
Elisa Odabashian of the West Coast regional office boasts experience working on a U.N. conference:
“Prior to joining Consumers Union, Ms. Odabashian worked for the socially progressive Internet service provider, Institute for Global Communications (IGC) as the telecommunications director for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Project, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992,” states her online bio.
Jayne Wallace, a communications consultant with Consumers Union, said the organization has received calls “both pro and con” about the birth-control piece, “which is not unusual for any article that’s run,” she told WND.
Wallace also addressed the issue of CEO Guest working for Planned Parenthood.
“The fact that [Guest] worked for Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with this article,” she said.