By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
--Rush Limbaugh in
The Way Things Ought to Be
A Weekly investigation has uncovered bizarre behind-the-scenes relationships linking Governor Pete Wilson and a group of rabid right-wing Orange County Republican politicians to a man who is California's--and perhaps the nation's--most prolific abortionist.
Dr. Edward C. Allred--whose high-volume abortion practice was once compared to Ray Kroc's preparation of McDonald's hamburgers--has been quietly socializing and funding self-described "anti-abortion" Republicans for at least two decades.
How prolific an abortionist is Allred? He owns 21 abortion clinics in California and two in Chicago. Five of his offices are in Orange County: Newport Beach, Mission Viejo, Cypress, Orange and Santa Ana. Early in his 30-year medical career, Allred boasted that he worked from 6 a.m. to midnight performing abortions on "planeloads" of women, trying not to spend more than five minutes with each patient. "We've been pioneers in so many ways," he once told a reporter. "We streamlined, we made efficiencies, we employed the suction technique better than anyone, and we eliminated needless patient-physician contact."
In 1980, he claimed to have personally aborted 250,000 fetuses during the previous 12 years. The number of abortions Allred has conducted in the past 18 years is not known. "I don't discuss numbers anymore," the doctor recently told the Weekly. "But obviously we've done plenty more surgeries." If it's any indication, Allred's current ad in the Pacific Bell Yellow Pages proclaims his Family Planning Associates clinics are "California's leading provider" of abortions.
Make no mistake: abortion has been very good to Allred. After a two-year stint as an Army doctor, he began his private practice in 1967 with a "negative net worth." Today he owns several exclusive mansions, a fleet of expensive cars and jets, Rolling A Ranches in Nevada, and New Mexico's prestigious Ruidoso Downs racecourse, where slot-machine gambling is legal. To protect himself from anti-abortion zealots in the past, he reportedly has traveled with a 16-member security force. In 1989, Allred parlayed his fortune into partial ownership of the $47 million Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress. This February, the quarter-horse aficionado (he stables more than 400 of them) announced that he had bought out his last major partner to become sole owner of the lucrative racetrack, which takes in more than $1 million in bets daily.
Allred has not kept his abortion and gambling fortune to himself. Through his numerous business entities and associates, he has given at least $436,050 to the Republican Party, its California candidates and causes. Most of the contributions were made during the past four election cycles. Beneficiaries include such Republican officials as Wilson; Congressman Dana Rohrabacher; state Treasurer and current U.S. Senate candidate Matt Fong; state Senators John Lewis and Ross Johnson; and Assembly members Curt Pringle (who is running for state treasurer) and Scott Baugh. Except for Wilson, each is a self-described "anti-abortion" Republican who enjoys staunch support from such religious-fundamentalist groups as the Christian Coalition, the California Pro-Life Council, the Pro-Life Political Action Committee of Orange County, and the Reverend Lou Sheldon's Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition.
The Orange County Republican delegation gets the pro-life seal of approval from Mike Spence, vice president of the California Pro-Life Council. "They [he excluded pro-choice Assemblywoman Marilyn Brewer] are all pro-life," Spence said. "It's just that some people take different roles. Some are quiet persuaders, working behind-the-scenes, and some people only look at who's shouting the loudest. We're not always happy with everything they do. But generally, those are the good guys--compared with the bad guys."
Allred's contributions and interest-free loans to Baugh, Johnson and Pringle graphically illustrate the abortion doctor's influence in Orange County GOP circles. Baugh--a lifelong Baptist and graduate of the Reverend Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Virginia --has not yet served a full term in Sacramento, but Allred-controlled businesses and organizations have already contributed at least $39,000 to his campaign and legal-defense funds. Baugh--who claims he is "anchored in core conservative values"--remains under felony indictment for alleged election-related crimes stemming from the 1995 special election to replace Doris Allen. In the past two years alone, Allred gave the Huntington Beach Republican $5,000 on July 8, 1997; another $5,000 on July 22; $1,000 on Sept. 18; a $10,000 interest-free loan on Sept. 23; and $5,000 on May 7, 1998. In 1996, an Allred-connected business spent $3,050 to host a fund-raiser for Baugh at the Los Alamitos Race Course.
Pringle was no less eager for Allred's money. The onetime Assembly speaker from Garden Grove took $3,000 on March 9, 1996; $11,000 on Nov. 2; $5,000 on Dec. 30; $250 on June 2, 1997; $2,000 on June 18; and $5,000 on March 17, 1998. Cathleen Monji, one of Allred's medical administrative assistants, gave Pringle another $1,000 on Nov. 2, 1996, and $2,000 on June 24, 1997.
Allred supported veteran Newport Beach politician Johnson with $15,000 on Oct. 16, 1996, and 72 days later, another $2,000. He even allowed Lisa Hughes--the Traditional Values Coalition's unsuccessful choice in the 46th Congressional District's 1998 GOP primary--to hold a four-hour, wine-and-hors d'oeuvres fund-raiser at the Finish Line Room in the track's elegant Vessels Club on April 25. Bob Dornan has taken no money from the doctor, whom he has publicly called a "baby destroyer" and a "greedy abortionist . . . just raking in the dollars." Such sentiment is not shared by Attorney General Dan Lungren. Allred said he and the Republican's anti-abortion, anti-gambling nominee for governor had an "enjoyable" lunch together at the racetrack two years ago. A week later, Lungren returned Allred's sizable contribution. "I don't think he wanted to be connected to me," Allred said. "But we certainly support him."