Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Family, Joe Pitts, and Abortion.

This fall, anti-abortion activists cheered for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment -- or, the Pitts-Stupak Amendment, as Rep. Joe Pitts' office called it. The amendment nearly derailed health reform and threatened to roll back abortion rights. In Salon, on NPR's "Fresh Air," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," and in other venues I reported on the Family's relationship to the amendment. Representative Bart Stupak has been enjoying subsidized rent at the Family's C Street House since at least 2002. Rep. Pitts' relationship goes back much further, to the late 1970s. Pitts didn't respond, but Stupak has been vocal in denying any connection between the Family, which he characterizes as apolitical, and anti-abortion activism.

The following letter, from Family organizer Fred Heyn to Pitts -- then a state legislator and national anti-abortion activist -- and an associate, Glenn Cunningham, is just one of the many documents contained within the Family's archives that prove Rep. Stupak wrong. It can be found in folder 8, box 386, collection 459 of the Billy Graham Center Archive. It represents the early days of Pitts' anti-abortion activism through the Family.

September 2, 1980

Dear Joe and Glen,

The dinner at the Cedars [The Family's $4 million Arlington mansion] recently with you and your invited guests was a great pleasure. We appreciate the way in which you are working together and, although as a fellowship we do not officially become involved in issues, we're grateful when men like yourselves take the leadership on a national issue as important as the one on which you're working. We pray for you and God's leadership in the days ahead as you work on it.

Also, Doug Coe, Stu and I have visited and we are agreed to help with this work as much as we're able.

Thanks again for being here and for including us...

Yours Sincerely,
Fred Heyn

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