"Here is the definition and real agenda of the feminazi: radical feminists whose objective is to see that there are as many abortions as possible. This is their primary mechanism of asserting their power. The second reason some abortion activists get upset is that there is money involved. Always follow the money on any public issue. . . . There's a lot of money being made on abortions."
--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."
If Lungren is shy about his association with the abortion doctor, Wilson is not. The governor's numerous political committees and causes have taken at least $294,750. One day alone, Allred handed Wilson $50,000.
The doctor said he tries to be as helpful as he can to his favorite politicians. "Sometimes [elected officials] don't want me to give money directly to them," Allred said. "They ask me to give to their other causes."
At Wilson's request, Allred said, he spent $50,000 to promote term limits and another $50,000 for Proposition 226, the failed 1998 initiative that would have helped corporations by muzzling unions in political campaigns.
The generosity has been appreciated. In 1994, the governor appointed Allred to a two-year term on the California Horse Racing Commission, the same agency charged with overseeing racetracks like the one Allred operates. Lewis and Johnson co-sponsored legislation in 1995 that would have allowed a handful of the state's horse racetracks to open casino-style betting clubs. Had it passed, the new law could have eventually--if local authorities also approved the move--yielded millions more in gambling profits for Allred. (State Senator Ken Maddy--another "anti-abortion" Republican who takes money from Allred--wrote the gambling-expansion bill.) The next year, Pringle and Baugh ensured that Allred's contributions would continue to flow: they helped kill a bill to limit gambling-industry gifts to state legislators. In May, Congressman Steve Horn honored the doctor by placing his name in the Congressional Record for "persistent and professional dedication" to health care. Allred has given the Long Beach Republican $4,000.
Although his gambling and abortion practices may not publicly fit today's "family values" GOP, Allred calls himself a Reagan conservative. He has proclaimed nothing but contempt for feminists and lesbians, and he opposes women getting equal pay for equal work. And while he has unabashedly supported the continuation of Medi-Cal payments for abortions (government funds that go directly to him and other abortion doctors), he favors the elimination of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (which goes directly to poor patients). The government has a fundamental obligation, he has said, to pay doctors for abortions to prevent overpopulation.
Allred is a man of contradictory perspectives. But the contradictions may resolve themselves neatly in the doctor's sense that abortion might serve extreme public-policy goals. In a 1980 interview with the San Diego Union, Allred blasted poor black women on welfare as "burdens to us all." He also allegedly said: "Population control is too important to be stopped by some right-wing pro-life types. Take the new influx of Hispanic immigrants:their total lack of respect for democracy and social order is frightening. I hope I can do something to stem that tide; I'd set up a clinic in Mexico for free if I could. . . . The survival of our society could be at stake." He later claimed his remarks about Hispanics were misquoted. He stood by his comments about black women.
In a recent telephone interview, the deep-voiced Allred was affable and candid. He said that he did not consider his contributions to "anti-abortion" Republicans unusual.
"I don't worry about window-dressing issues," he said calmly. "The abortion issue was settled a long time ago. I am a Republican and a conservative one at that. . . . We don't all agree on every issue, and that's not a bad thing."
The doctor said he gives to politicians because he "has to be careful to protect his [business] interests." For that reason, he said, he also contributes--if on a far smaller scale--to a few powerful Democrats. State disclosure reports show that in 1996, he gave former Assembly Speaker Cruz Bustamante $5,000 and current state Senate President Pro Tem John Burton $1,500.
But his passion is for hardcore, Orange County-style conservatives. None of whom, by the way, has ever returned a single one of his contributions.
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"I like Scott [Baugh]," said Allred, adding that the assemblyman has been to his racetrack "several" times. "He has become a good legislator in Sacramento." He first gave to Baugh in 1995 "out of necessity." Baugh was "desperate" at the time for campaign funds, according to Allred. Orange County District Attorney Michael Capizzi's "ridiculous . . . unfair prosecution" of Baugh only fueled the doctor's financial support.
Allred said Baugh is fully aware of his abortion business and talked about it once "briefly." The upshot of the chat: "We agreed not to talk about it."
Baugh is not the only one who may not want to talk about it. The mainstream press in Orange County appears determined to overlook the bizarre connection between a prolific abortionist and his pro-life political allies. The relationship is unquestionably newsworthy, but neither the Los Angeles Times nor The Orange County Register has bothered to publish the story, even though both regularly cover Allred and his racing events. In fact, sources for this article say they first tipped off the Times OC political desk. So far, the Times has evidently decided to sit on the story. That may not be surprising for at least two reasons: both Times and Register executives sit alongside Allred's representatives on the elite, secretive Orange County Business Council, and both newspapers go out of their way not to offend the county's corrupt, entrenched Republican machine.
But it's not just the press and politicians who've kept Allred's pro-life connection buried. Why have Orange County's perpetually raucous, unrelenting anti-abortion activists--like Dornan--remained silent about the arrangement? Where is the holier-than-thou Young Americans for Freedom crowd? Could it be that they have a greater loyalty to the Republican Party than to, as they say, the sanctity of life? What does it mean that Sheldon--who surely is familiar with dozens of anti-abortion rallies that have taken place at Allred's local clinics during the past two decades--can't utter one word of protest and still stands vocally behind Baugh and Rohrabacher and Lewis and Johnson and Pringle? What does it say about the state of politics that an anti-abortion, anti-gambling reverend would lobby in Sacramento--like Sheldon did--for an abortion doctor to get his racetrack gambling casino and nobody would say anything about it?