GOP Governors Paying Big Bucks to Contoversial Marriage Therapist to Defend New Abortion Laws

Mother Jones

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Over the past two years, at least four Republican-controlled states have paid nearly $200,000 in taxpayers funds to Vincent Rue—a marriage therapist whose testimony has been repeatedly disregarded by judges—to help defend ultra-strict abortion laws in court.

Rue, who holds a doctorate in family relations from the University of North Carolina School of Home Economics, has claimed that “abortion reescalates the battle between the sexes” and “abortion increases bitterness toward men.” For decades, he has strived to convince mainstream researchers to recognize “post-abortion syndrome,” a supposed mental illness resulting from abortion.

But “after submission for peer review by scientists with the Center for Disease Control, the National Center for Health Statistics and other scientific institutions, Rue’s study was found to have ‘no value’ and to be ‘based upon a priori beliefs rather than an objective review of the evidence,'” according to Daniel Huyett, a federal judge who disregarded Rue’s testimony in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a landmark 1990 abortion case that eventually ended up before the Supreme Court. “His testimony is devoid of…analytical force and scientific rigor,” Huyett added. “Moreover, his admitted personal opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, suggests a possible personal bias.” Rue “possesses neither the academic qualifications nor the professional experience of plaintiffs’ expert witnesses,” another federal judge wrote in 1986 after hearing Rue’s testimony in another landmark abortion case, Hodgson v. Minnesota.

Rue “has been really thoroughly discredited by trial courts,” says Priscilla Smith, who faced Rue many years ago as a litigator and now directs the Yale Law School’s reproductive justice studies program. (Rue said he couldn’t comment for this story without the permission of the state attorneys general who’ve hired him.)

But Rue’s history hasn’t prevented Republican administrations in Alabama, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin from giving him lucrative work as a legal consultant. These days, though, he rarely testifies himself. Instead, he works behind the scenes to handpick expert witnesses, write reports, and guide states’ legal strategies for defending abortion restrictions. From 2012 to 2014, North Dakota paid Rue $19,936 to help defend its six-week abortion ban—which legal scholars criticized as patently unconstitutional. (A federal court struck down the ban in April; the state is appealing.) In the same time period, Alabama paid Rue $79,087.50 to defend a law that requires abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges with a local hospital. (The law threatens to shut down three of Alabama’s five abortion clinics; the case, brought by Planned Parenthood, is ongoing.) In 2014, Texas paid Rue $36,392 in “other witness fees” for work on an unspecified lawsuit.

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GOP Governors Paying Big Bucks to Contoversial Marriage Therapist to Defend New Abortion Laws

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