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Setting the Record Straight on the Movement Known as “AHA” (Part III)

In Part I of this series, I addressed some preliminary issues relating to framing the discussion of Jeff Maples’ latest article, Polemi-leaks: Setting the Record Straight on the Organization Known As Abolish Human Abortion.  In Part II, I provided an informal organizational history of AHA and ICAS.  In this part, I directly address a number Maples’ allegations.
With an organizational history of AHA and ICAS in place, we can now turn to specific allegations the Maples raises in his article.  First, Maples writes:

This article is about the unified organization known as Abolish Human Abortion, hereinafter referred to as AHA. There is much controversy regarding the organizational structure of AHA. AHA and its leaders have continually rejected this notion, often reciting their mantra, “AHA is not an organization, it’s an ideology.” Opponents reject this arguing that AHA is an organization that acts and operates in a unified and organized manner. The problem, however, is that there has never been any definitive evidence and the legal status of AHA’s leadership structure is not public.

First, as has been amply explained in the preceding history, abolitionists reject “this arguing that AHA is an organization that acts and operates in a unified and organized manner” because they actually understand how the movement works.  If AHA was organizationally-driven, you would have plenty of actual abolitionists talking about it and being critical of this or that aspect of the organization in question.  Anyone who knows abolitionists knows that this would be an inevitable eventuality.  Abolitionists are known for saying what is on their mind, and rightly so.  They are known for being no respecters of persons when it comes to offering rebuke, correction, or admonition.  And abolitionists aren’t stupid.  If AHA was an organization, they would know it.  And write about it.  And pretty much let everyone they know who cares about AHA know about it.  And rightly so.

Second, consider the emphasis on the “legal status of AHA’s leadership structure.”  As abolitionists have discussed among themselves at length on this very issue, “leadership” means something very different from “holding the trademark to the AHA symbol.”  As explained in the previous parts, abolitionists lead by example, service, and persuasion, and this has nothing to do with any trademark.  Jeff is well within his First Amendment rights to claim that being a member of a formal organization that holds a trademark is equivalent to leadership, but we would also be well within our rights to not take anything else he says seriously for the sheer lunacy of such a suggestion.

Maples continues:

AHA abolitionists (notice I am distinguishing between abolitionists and AHA abolitionists), in many cases, have been led to believe that they are not part of an organized structure with leadership who have control over their individual societies. I certainly was not aware of this when I was part of AHA.

Maples was indeed a member of the Abolitionism Facebook group until he left of his own accord after writing an article critical of the Church Repent project.  Maples says that we was not aware of “an organized structure with leadership who have control over their individual societies” when he was a “part of AHA.”  Well, I am definitely a “part of AHA” (whatever he possibly means by that phrase), and I am unaware of any such organized structure.  It certainly isn’t ICAS. As explained in great detail, ICAS has no control over any abolitionist or any abolitionist society, and no abolitionist societies are now or have ever been officially affiliated with ICAS.  Unlike Maples, I actually know what I’m talking about in that regard.  However, if Maples has some other “organized structure with leadership who have control over their individual societies” that he wants to pull out of his hat, then I and other abolitionists would be more than happy to oblige him and take a look.

Maples continues:

I was told, like most of them, that each abolitionist society was independent, and that there was no central authority over them. This is convenient and works well to gain a following, as people believe they are joining a grassroots movement and don’t believe that they have anyone to answer to. Not everyone in AHA is privy to the legal structure of AHA.

Well, I suppose the truth is arguably “convenient” and something that “works well to gain a following.”  I suppose it is only natural that people who become involved in a grassroots movement stay involved when all of their experiences with that movement confirm the fact that it is, indeed, a grassroots movement.  Remarkably simple and straightforward conclusions, these.

It is amusing that Maples first brings up the fact that he “was told”, as if he was being a told a falsehood, that “each abolitionist society [is] independent, and that there [is] no central authority over them,” and then later goes and cites a section from the ICAS bylaws that specifically says these societies are independent and that ICAS has no control over them.  I thought this was supposed to be an exposé.  Did I miss something?

Lastly, notice the remark that “Not everyone in AHA is privy to the legal structure of AHA.”  I also am “in AHA” and am not privy to the legal structure of AHA.  I mean, I was back when there was an entity called “AHA” that had a legal structure.  And for that matter, so was everyone else involved back then, as the movement was informed of both the launch and the dissolution of that particular entity.  But Maples isn’t talking about that.  So what exactly is he talking about?

Maples makes an attempt at clarity:

So it’s time to set the record straight on exactly what the organizational structure of AHA is, who controls it, and what legal authority the structure has over individual societies. First and foremost, it’s important to cover what they’ve actually admitted to thus far. AHA and its leaders have admitted to:

  • the existence of the International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies (ICAS)
  • that ICAS is, indeed, a 501(c)(3) organization
  • that there is some control behind ICAS

Well, first and foremost, if Maples had actually done his homework, he would see that ICAS is organized as a not-for-profit corporation whose operations fall within section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, not section 501(c)(3).  A 501(c)(4) is a significantly different type of entity from a 501(c)(3), as anyone who knows anything about nonprofits will tell you.  And it’s not as if that is any big secret.  It’s written into the Articles of Incorporation, which is a public document.  Given his supposed “extensive research,” the fact that Maples whiffs on this particular detail is certainly interesting, to say the least.

Notice, however, that Maples does not cite “AHA leaders” as “admitting” that ICAS and AHA are the same, or that the former has control over the latter, or that the former is the legal structure of the latter, or that the former even existed prior to the latter.  The most natural explanation is that “AHA leaders” have not said such things because such things are not true.  However, I’m sure the real explanation is that “AHA leaders” are really evil masterminds whose grand scheme entails lying over and over again about matters of public record.  Yeah, I’m sure that’s it.

Maples continues:

Great, they’ve admitted and acknowledged this, but to what extent? The Abolish Human Abortion website discusses none of the organizational details regarding the International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies and certainly doesn’t reference the legal authority the organization possesses.

As the preceding historical discussion should have made clear, the reason such things are not discussed is because ICAS is still a mothballed organization that has no practical daily impact on the abolitionist movement.  I suppose Maples would rather us publicly detail inner workings and proceedings that have never been implemented in practice.  Because saying that things are a certain way when they are not is deceptive and a mark of a cult.  Oh, wait.

Notice also how Maples tries to make something substantive out of a simple trademark registration by using the term “legal authority.”  Holding a trademark is no more “legal authority” over a person in the sense that phrase is intended to connote than holding a copyright or a patent.  But all of that is irrelevant for one very simply reason:  no one is making abolitionists use the AHA symbol.  They use it because they want to identify themselves as being in ideological and practical unity with other brothers and sisters around the country (and around the world) who hold and daily live out the ideology the symbol represents.  Even if there was some boogeyman out there, just waiting to try to exercise “legal authority” over abolitionist societies, abolitionists could just adopt another symbol.  Tada!  Problem solved.

However, the problems with Maples’ allegation don’t end there.  The “legal authority” of ICAS is no respecter of persons or organizations, and it applies just the same to those within the movement as those without.  Jeff Maples’ might as well raise the alarm that ICAS is a group of megalomaniacal tyrants bent on taking over the world!  After all, everyone in the world (to the extent that other nations honor US trademark law) are under the same “legal authority” as those in the AHA movement.   Anyone who lives where US trademark law is honored can potentially be sued for trademark infringement.  Why Maples seems to think that this grants “legal authority” over AHA but not the world in general is simply beyond my powers of comprehension.

Maples then makes perhaps his biggest gaffe out of the whole exercise:

But so goes the argument, “the International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies is not Abolish Human Abortion.” So let’s clear up some of the minor details here first, then I will prove to you that ICAS cannot be separated from AHA–they are one in the same.

Notice the last six words: “they [ICAS and AHA] are one in the same.”  Well, if that statement doesn’t cause Maples to lose all credibility, then I honestly don’t know what would.  The sheer absurdity of that statement is so astounding that I don’t know how anyone with any knowledge of AHA could write it while keeping a straight face.  Let’s pretend for a moment that the entire historical account in Part II has not already exposed that claim for the ludicrous farce that it is.  Let us suspend our disbelief, and then proceed to examine this rather sweeping statement in light of the evidence Maple’s brings to the table in its support.

First … there is a charter, bylaws, structure, voting, and top-down control.

Well, there are articles of incorporation and bylaws.  I don’t know anyone who was at the Memphis ICAS meeting in 2014 who has denied that.  And there were at least 50–60 abolitionists at that meeting. As for the existence of top-down control, well, we’ll just have to wait and see how Maples tries to prove that little contention.  Maples continues:

In fact, the ICAS is currently, according to the Oklahoma Secretary of State website, registered under Thomas Russell Hunter, Nathan Mobley, and Brian Biggs.

Yes the Articles of Incorporation list the incorporators of a corporation.  And their role as incorporators ends as soon as the corporation elects directors, which happened back in July 2012.  So, it is quite puzzling what exactly Maples thinks that listing this information will prove.  Continuing on:

Under the “Purposes” heading of the ICAS bylaws, it clearly states that one of the purposes of ICAS is to provide a platform to represent AHA as a whole, unquestionably tying AHA to ICAS.

Yes, indeed.  This has been freely admitted and explained in the preceding history.  Continuing on:

In the essence of fairness, here is how ICAS defines their organization, and the control over the member societies.

Maples then proceeds to quote Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the bylaws.  However, before addressing further issues of substance, I’m going to be a big meaniepants and call BS on Maples’ purported attempt at “the essence of fairness.”  This article falls about as short of “the essence of fairness” as a toddler trying to make a slam dunk.  Maybe even more so.  But in case Maples is somehow unaware of what “the essence of fairness” entails, allow me to provide a couple of pointers.  First, the “essence of fairness” is not quoting your opponent’s writings because you think you can use them to support your point, and then tacking on that you are quoting them “to be fair.”  Even the most despicable weasel practicing law still has to document his case in order to win.  And there is often nothing remotely fair about what weasels do (particularly if they are wearing suits), even if they accurately quote their opponents verbatim.  Next, “the essence of fairness,” whatever it entails, at the very least entails a spirit of charity—a willingness to consider alternative theories and possibilities.  One might even be so bold as to say that “the essence of fairness” includes at least talking to and getting the perspective of the people you are investigating before publishing an “exposé” about them.  But whatever “the essence of fairness” entails, it most certainly does not include shoehorning a bunch of unconnected facts into a false and deceptive narrative simply because you don’t like the people you’re writing about.

Now, with that bit of unpleasantness out of the way, let us proceed on to where Maples’ proves that ICAS has control over member societies:

Under section 2.1, “Membership in the Coalition” section of the bylaws, they state,

The corporation shall maintain a list of affiliated organizations. The corporation shall have the power to add and remove the names of organizations from this list for any reason and on any occasion, subject to the other relevant provisions of these bylaws. An organization shall hereafter be called a “member of the Coalition” if and only if its name is present in the aforementioned list to be maintained by the corporation. Likewise, the term “membership in the Coalition” shall refer to the state or condition in which a given organization is a member of the Coalition.

and section 2.2,

The corporation shall have no authority over any member of the Coalition, except the authority to grant or revoke membership in the Coalition, and to perform any actions related thereto. Per the provisions of Section 2.1, members of the Coalition are merely affiliates of the corporation, not chapter organizations or sub-organizations. As such, the corporation shall have no legal authority over, nor legal responsibility for, the independent actions and affairs of the members of the Coalition, which are fully autonomous in their own right.

Now, that seems pretty straightforward to me.  There is a corporation, and it has a list of official affiliates.  Said affiliates are independent and autonomous.  The only power the corporation has is to add and remove their names from a list.  Well, that certainly sounds to me like abolitionists are signing their lives away by signing up!

But wait, there’s more!  The bylaws say that “the corporation shall have no legal authority over, nor legal responsibility for, the independent actions and affairs of the members of the Coalition, which are fully autonomous in their own right.”  Hmmm.  Sounds to me like the ICAS bylaws are saying the exact opposite of what Maples is claiming—that is, if ICAS were actually an active functioning organization.  But what do I know about the bylaws?  I only wrote them, after all.

Maples continues:

But does this really separate all of the societies and members from any authoritative control over the AHA brand? No. Here’s why.

According to the Section 2.3 of the bylaws, the “Necessary Conditions for Membership,” societies must “Adhere to the official positions of the corporation, subject to other relevant provisions of these bylaws,” “be actively meeting and working in its local community,” “maintain an official mailing address,” and many other requirements, and also must be voted in by either a majority vote of the General Committee, or a two-thirds vote by the Board of Directors.

Now, someone might read this and come away thinking that ICAS requires every society wanting to use the symbol to maintain a mailing address.  However, if you actually look at the bylaws, Section 2.3, paragraph A states:

In ordered to be considered for membership in the Coalition, an organization must:
1. Submit an official application for membership;
2. Adhere to the official positions of the corporation, subject to other relevant provisions of these bylaws;
3. Be actively meeting and working in its local community;
4. Have at least four members in good standing (such requirement for membership being determined by the organization applying for membership);
5. Maintain an official mailing address.

Now what does it mean “considered for membership in the Coalition”?  Well if you remember Section 2.1, which Jeff Maples was so kind to quote for us, that simply means being added to a list of official affiliates.  But what if you don’t meet those conditions, or don’t want to meet them?  The solution is simple: don’t apply for “membership in the Coalition.” It is all really quite easy to understand.  Does not applying keep you from being an abolitionist or starting an abolitionist society? Of course not. The fact that every abolitionist society and almost every abolitionist is officially unaffiliated with ICAS is no small evidence of this fact. Does not applying for membership in the Coalition prevent you from using the symbol to identify yourself or your group as a practical adherent of the AHA ideology?  Most certainly not.  In fact, Section 2.6 of the bylaws, which Maples later presents as his pièce de résistance, says that ICAS grants a license to everyone to use the symbol as long as they are not using it to mean something other than AHA.

Now, what is all of this “necessary conditions” business?  Well, as the very next paragraph in the bylaws explains, necessary conditions are the opposite of sufficient conditions.  If you want to read more about this fascinating topic, you can do so here.  But as a simple example, McDonald’s places a few necessary conditions on its customers for receiving service—you have to be wearing a shirt and shoes.  Now, a lawyer might look at that and question whether pants are also necessary, but I digress.  Just because you’re wearing a shirt and shoes (and pants) doesn’t mean you’ll receive service.  You also have to have some form of currency available to present to the cashier in exchange for food.  Necessary conditions are necessary for achieving an end, but they aren’t always sufficient by themselves for achieving that end.

So what does all this mean for ICAS?  Well, if ICAS were actually up and running and accepting affiliation applications, it would have to reject applications by any societies that don’t meet those conditions.  Now, meeting those conditions doesn’t guarantee that ICAS has to accept the society, either.  Ultimately, the decision is up to the judgment of the board or committee reviewing the application.  There is nothing more to it than that.

Well, that’s a bit disappointing.  Perhaps Maples has more evidence about the big, evil ICAS:

Okay, so who are these people doing the voting? According to section 3.2, Representatives, “Each member of the Coalition shall appoint one representative to participate and vote in the General Committee. These representatives shall be members of the corporation by virtue of their appointment.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Is that what the bylaws actually say?  Let’s turn to Section 3.2 and see what is actually written there:

Each member of the Coalition shall appoint one representative to participate and vote in the General Assembly.  These representatives shall be members of the corporation by virtue of their appointment.

The General Assembly and the General Committee are two distinct entities.  Indeed, they have their own dedicated articles in the bylaws.  The General Assembly is the subject of Article VI, and the General Committee is the subject of Article VIII.  Now, I thought Maples was trying to be fair.  Why can’t he even quote the bylaws accurately?  He continues:

It is then these appointed members of the General Committee, made up of representatives from each existing local society, who get to vote on the new applicant societies for membership.

If Maples would actually read the bylaws, in particular Section 8.3.B, he would see that two-thirds of the committee is elected by the General Assembly (and the other third is appointed by the board of directors).  Now this is a relatively minor point given the other things that have been said about his article.  But, given all of Maples’ other allegations, this error only provides the reader even more reason to wonder what exactly Jeff Maples thought he was doing by setting out to write an exposé.  He continues:

So, in essence, the organization gets to decide who its new members are.

I am quite literally dumbfounded as to why exactly this is worth mentioning.  Of course the organization gets to decide who its new members are.  What organization doesn’t?  I suppose there might be some organization somewhere with bylaws that say that no prospective members can be turned away and that anyone who wants to join can.  But even in such a hypothetical case, the organization has decided ahead of time to accept anyone who applies as a member.  They still had to make the decision of who its new members would be at some point in time.  You can’t have an organization that doesn’t make that decision.  It is a logical impossibility.  Moreover, if ICAS doesn’t decide who becomes a member of ICAS, then who is supposed to decide that?  The state?  Students for Life?  Jeff Maples?  Who, pray tell, is supposed to make decisions for an organization if the organization itself isn’t supposed to?

At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if Maples actually has a point at all.  Particularly, if he has any evidence that ICAS and AHA “are one in the same.”  Well, we might finally have something:

Okay, so this is ICAS, not AHA, and they’ve admitted that ICAS exists. What’s the point? Well, the point is, ICAS cannot be separated from AHA–they are inextricably tied together. Here’s how. Section 2.6, Usage of the Abolish Human Abortion Symbol states:

Is that it?  Seems a bit underwhelming, but I’ll work with it.  First off, paragraph A says that ICAS has a duty to preserve the distinctiveness of the AHA symbol and the ideology it represents. That is a better way of expressing the rather poorly-worded sentence “ensuring the trademark is not abused by individuals and organizations who may be working at odds with the Abolish Human Abortion ideology.”  If ICAS ever goes anywhere other than away, I will submit a motion to amend this paragraph to this effect.  What is worth noting here, however, is that this is simply the standard obligation that every trademark owner has—to protect the distinctiveness of their registered mark.  In this case, the distinctiveness is not with respect to a particular brand of goods or services, but with respect to a specific ideology.  Anyone can use the symbol for any purpose, including parody and criticism, as long as they use it to refer to the AHA ideology and not something else.  It is only when people try to pass off the AHA symbol as representing something other than AHA that there would be a problem, legally speaking.  And this is essentially what paragraphs B and C say, though I would freely admit that they could be rewritten to make this even more clear.

However, even as written, paragraphs B and C are actually evidence against Maples’ allegations.  Maples wants to say that ICAS is this legal boogeyman with the authority to force different abolitionist societies to do this and that.  However, paragraph B explicitly says that ICAS will grant a nonexclusive license to any individual or organization that uses the AHA symbol to mean AHA.  That is what “official positions of the corporation” means, by the way—the “official” statement of AHA ideology as maintained by the Positions Committee and the General Assembly.  This is quite clear if you read Section 2.6 in conjunction with paragraph 1.1.A.3 and Article IX.  Paragraph 2.6.C is completely redundant (legally speaking) and simply says that anyone who infringes the trademark, which as we have already seen means to blur its distinctiveness by using it to represent something something substantially other than the AHA ideology and its consistent application, can be the subject of legal action for the purposes of correcting such infringement.  And this would apply equally as well to “Atheists Have Answers” as to any so-called “abolitionist” who wants to put the AHA symbol on a website advocating pro-life incrementalism.  What all of this has to do with “the legal status of AHA’s leadership structure” is quite simply beyond me.

So, with all of that said, one is still very much left to wonder why exactly Maples thinks he has come anywhere close to proving his point that AHA and ICAS “are one in the same.”  Where, pray tell, in that bylaws screenshot is a group or organization or movement called “Abolish Human Abortion” mentioned?  I can’t find it anywhere.  Those three paragraphs talk about the Abolish Human Abortion symbol, not the movement sometimes called “Abolish Human Abortion” that Jeff Maples is so determined to make into an organization.  Unless we are living in some kind of Twilight Zone universe, symbols are entities distinct from the things they signify.  If AHA is equivalent to the AHA symbol, then Jeff Maples is equivalent to the series of letters J-e-f-f-M-a-p-l-e-s.  Not a very flattering conception of the man, but it could help explain the poor quality of his exposé.

So, this is apparently the smoking gun.  ICAS holds a trademark to the AHA symbol and therefore is inextricably tied to—one in the same with—the AHA movement.  Which is therefore an organization because ICAS is an organization.  An impressive exercise in logical tomfoolery, but nothing remotely resembling the proof we were promised.

Maples then tries to attach some significance to his smoking gun:

Now, it’s absolutely clear that ICAS is the owner of the trademark, or “brand,” known as Abolish Human Abortion. In the business world, corporations can own many trademarks, and they can do business as (dba) their trademark names. The corporation can then operate under these trademarks, even to the point of conducting legal business transactions under these names. Long story short, someone could write a check, make it out to “Abolish Human Abortion,” and ICAS would have the legal authority to cash that check.

It is unclear if Maples is simply unclear on the relevant business law or if he is intentionally trying to obfuscate the issue.  As a case in point, an organization can only cash a check made out to their legal name or a registered trade name, also known as a DBA.  Different states have different laws regarding trade name registration.  In Oklahoma, you have to file an application and pay a $25 fee.  If we really wanted for ICAS to be able to cash checks written to “Abolish Human Abortion,” it would have been a whole lot easier to pay $25 for a trade name than $500 for a trademark, especially given that a bank will not cash a check for you just because you have a trademark.  Not all trademarks are trade names, and not all trade names are registered trademarks, though it is probably the case that proportionally more trade names are trademarks than vice versa.

Simply put, a trade name is a name other than an organization’s legal name that they can transact business under (i.e., move money around).  A trademark, on the other hand, is a name, mark, or symbol that identifies a particular product or service.  The purposes are quite different.  Trade name registration protects those doing business with a particular organization, ensuring that the identity of the organization is publicly verifiable.  A trademark, on the other hand, protects organizations from other organizations that might attempt to confuse customers by selling goods or services under the same product or service name.  For example, without some kind of trademark law, Coca-Cola could hypothetically create a soft drink called “Pepsi” and attempt to sell it in stores with the same look and feel as PepsiCo Pepsi, or PepsiCo could create a soft-drink called “Coca-Cola.”  Chaos and financial upheaval could ensue.

Now, it should be clear that an intellectual property mechanism for maintaining the market distinctiveness of a good or service is a distinctly different thing from an alias that a company can accept payment as.  As a further example, consider State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.  That is the legal name of the company otherwise known as State Farm.  Now, “State Farm” is a lot shorter, and as such it is a lot more convenient for a customer to write “State Farm” on a check than “State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.”  Having to write the latter would be too annoying and their customers might well switch to an insurance company with a shorter name.  As such, they have “State Farm” as a trade name, to accept payment under a name that is convenient to write.  However, because the shorter name is also better for marketing purposes, it is a registered trademark as well.  That is why you know them publicly as “State Farm,” because that is how they advertise themselves.  In this case, “State Farm” is both a trade name and a federally-registered trademark of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.  However, State Farm has other trademarks, such as “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There.”  Regardless of how Jeff Maples wants to spin the situation, I could not get away with making the check for my next car insurance payment out to “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There.”  Though if any of Maples’ readers are State Farm customers, I would encourage them to give that a go if they really believe him.  They could also try making the check out to “Instant Answer Term Insurance” or “Protect, then Invest” if the jingle is too long to fit on the “pay to the order of” line.

The point of all of this is to say that no, ICAS could not cash a check made out to “Abolish Human Abortion,” because that is not, and never has been, a registered ICAS trade name.  Now, there was an organization back in 2013 that had “Abolish Human Abortion” as a trade name, even though it did not have the AHA trademark.  And that organization most certainly could (and probably did) cash checks made out to “Abolish Human Abortion.”  Maples’ should have been writing in 2013.  His article could definitely have gotten more traction then.  Writing in 2017, however, he is a day late and a dollar short.

Maples continues:

Further, ICAS has clearly stated in these bylaws that they do, contrary to what they’ve repeatedly claimed publicly, have the authority to police whoever is using their brand name.

I am unaware of ICAS making any public statements about the trademark.  Or is Maples engaging in circular reasoning again, because ICAS is AHA is ICAS, and so anyone claiming to be “in AHA” is a representative of ICAS?  Notice also that Maples’ keeps using the word “brand,” even though the AHA symbol is not a mark representing any commercial goods or services.  That a particular ideology and its application has to be categorized as a non-commercial “service” in trademark terms for a symbol to receive protection illustrates the limitations of the US trademark system more than anything else.

Simply because they have not chosen to [police the trademark] thus far does not negate the fact that they can.

Indeed, this is true.  I have said as much myself on multiple occasions in this reply.

Abolish Human Abortion has not been up front about their organizational status, at least according to my extensive research findings.

If Jeff Maples had been a little more extensive with his “extensive research findings,” he might well have uncovered the undeniable truth that the organizational status of Abolish Human Abortion is that Abolish Human Abortion is not an organization.

One thing is for sure, they cannot deny the fact that they are an organization. Abolish Human Abortion is not like Calvinism, as argued by Toby Harmon in the video above. Calvinism is not a registered trademark owned, operated, and policed by a governing corporation with the legal ability to revoke the use of the trademark among member societies using the name.

Being someone who knows Toby, he did not mean that Abolish Human Abortion is like Calvinism in every way.  If he had intended to make such an unqualified statement, he would have added words to that effect.  Rather, Toby simply meant that AHA is like Calvinism in that both are ideologies.  Particularly, in the context of his discussion with Andrew Rappaport on the Youtube video Maples’ links to, Toby’s point is that there are companies that produce materials for the purpose of promoting each ideology, thus distinguishing those organizations from the ideologies they promote. However, no reasonable construction of Toby’s words can be formulated so as to deny the following caveats, which should be obvious to anyone who is familiar with both Calvinism and AHA:

  1. Calvinism is a soteriological theory, not a practical ideology of how to abolish an institutionalized evil.
  2. Calvinism was not called “Calvinism” until years after Calvin.  Indeed, Calvin had no need to assign a specific name to his theology to distinguish it in the minds of the public from other ineffective ideologies of social reformation as an arguably necessary condition of facilitating a paradigm shift within the culture at large.
  3. Calvinism has no need of symbol, because it is not an ideology that is essentially tied to raising public awareness about something.
  4. Even in a counterfactual world where the term “Calvinism” denotes an ideology like abolitionism in 16th-Century Europe in all of the prior ways, Calvin did not live in a legal environment where someone could easily register a trademark to the symbol he was using and then send him a cease and desist to make him stop using it.

In summary, why our critics refuse to see that ICAS is simply an organization within the AHA movement that fulfills a particular purpose is beyond all rational explanation.  That defensive trademark registration is not even a valid category speaks to either their lack of objectivity or their utter disconnection from reality. That ICAS is misrepresented as an active organization speaks to the utter failure of Maples’ “extensive research” efforts.  And that the honest testimony of abolitionists in regards to how the movement actually functions is completely disregarded for a fanciful story of an organization that has “control over” the abolitionist movement utterly destroys any pretense to “the essence of fairness.”

At the end of the day, there is the real world that we all live and work in, and there is the make-believe world that our critics apparently believe in.  Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the organization called AHA all have the same thing in common.  Our critics should come to that realization before they waste more time tilting at windmills.