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South Dakota anti-abortion-rights legal fund supported by mostly out-of-state donors

A fund created by the South Dakota Legislature in 2005 to defend a controversial anti-abortion-rights bill introduced that year is largely bankrolled by out-of-state donors, some of whom proclaim to be employees of Jesus, reports the Argus Leader.

The Life Protection Subfund was initially created in anticipation of legal challenges to a law that, among other provisions, requires a doctor to tell a woman who is about to have an abortion she “has an existing relationship with that unborn human being and that the relationship enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and under the laws of South Dakota.” (This month, an appeals court overturned the district court’s previous ruling that the “existing relationship” provision was unconstitutional but agreed to strike down another provision that required doctors to tell patients that women who have abortions are more likely to commit suicide.)

Now the Subfund is being used to defend this year’s currently-blocked anti-abortion-rights bill that mandates a 72-hour waiting period for abortion seekers and requires counseling at a crisis pregnancy center (CPC). According to funding data provided to The American Independent by Paul Kinsman, commissioner of the South Dakota Bureau of Administration, which oversees the Protect Life Subfund, the fund currently contains $63,387.04.

About $12,000 of that $63,000 was carried over from 2006 donations ranging from $5 to $2,000, half of which were from South Dakota residents or companies. In total, South Dakotans paid for about two-thirds of what was in the fund in 2006.

As of Sept. 26, about $48,000 in donations have gone to the Subfund in 2011. Two-thirds of those donations have come from six other states: Colorado (two donations), Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, North Dakota (two donations) and Texas. The majority of those funds were donated by individuals, except for Patrick Davis Consulting in Colorado ($100), the Gerard Health Foundation LLC in Massachusetts ($2,500) and the North Dakota branch of the Knights of Columbus ($100).

The largest contribution – $25,000 — came from just one source, married couple Joseph and Cynthia Brinck.

From the Leader:

Only one Joe Brinck is listed in Ohio phone directories, and he is CEO of Stelter and Brinck LTD, a manufacturer of industrial process heat equipment and president of Superior Thermal Ltd., a manufacturer’s representative agency selling industrial-gas burners and controls, according to company websites.

Joe Brinck also is on the board of directors of an organization he founded, Ruah Woods. Its mission is to restore family and renew the culture using Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, according to the organization’s website.

Under Joe Brinck’s biography on the site, he states, “My businesses belong to Jesus, and we state so in our corporate minutes and our mission and vision statements. We use our businesses to evangelize our employees, customers and suppliers. We use the profits to support pro-life organizations.”

Even though the money in the Subfund does not come close to covering the state’s court costs -– according to the Argus Leader, the South Dakota attorney general’s office estimates legal challenges to this year’s anti-abortion-rights law could cost between $2 million and $4 million -– the attorney general has not dipped into the Subfund because of help from anti-abortion-rights organizations such as Alpha Center, a CPC in Sioux Falls. And even though the money has yet to be used, the existence of the fund remains controversial.

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