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Charles A. “Chuck” Donovan


Charles A. “Chuck” Donovan is president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. He served as legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee more than three decades ago, worked as a writer for President Reagan, helped to lead the Family Research Council for nearly two decades and most recently has been Senior Research Fellow in Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.

Chuck has played key roles in the development of public policy regarding public financing of abortion, compassionate alternatives to abortion, the child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, and rights of conscience.

Donovan is the author or co-author of books and monographs on family topics. Appearances on national radio and television include CNN’s Inside Politics and ABC’s Nightline as well as programs on FOX, BBC, NPR, EWTN and CBN. His articles and commentaries, both under his own name and those of public figures, have been published in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Cincinnati Enquirer, San Diego Union and National Catholic Register, and in magazines such as Reader’s Digest, The Weekly Standard, American Legion Magazine, World Magazine, American Library Journal, Crisis, and Focus on the Family’s Citizen.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Donovan earned a bachelor of arts degree in English at the University of Notre Dame.


Latest Research & News

  • The Effort to Reinterpret EMTALA to Mandate Abortions | November 8, 2022

    This is Issue 91 in CLI’s On Point Series. To view this report as a PDF, see: The Effort to Reinterpret EMTALA to Mandate Abortions   In an Executive Order of July 8, 2022, President Biden said his Administration would expand its effort to promote abortion as this “is essential to justice, equality, and our […]

  • ANALYSIS: After 9 Million Heartbeats, NPR Abortion Broadcast Leaves No Doubt About When Unborn Baby’s Life Ends | November 4, 2022

    Abortion Equipment Has 10 to 20 Times the Suction Power of a Household Vacuum   Washington, D.C. – NPR on Thursday broadcast heartbreaking audio of a recent abortion performed in Michigan on a mother who was 11 weeks pregnant.   While the reporter described the setting as “feeling like childbirth,” Dr. Ingrid Skop, an OB/GYN […]

  • Questions and Answers on Late-Term Abortion | May 16, 2022

    First published: February 2019 Last updated: May 16, 2022   To view this fact sheet as a PDF, see: Fact Sheet: Questions and Answers on Late-Term Abortion   What is a Late-Term Abortion?   “Late-term” abortion is an imprecise term, but under any “formal” definition offered or as accepted by the public at large late-term […]

  • Rest in Eternal Light: Sister Paula Vandegaer | August 31, 2021

    <br/ > “Greater love hath no man than this,” says John 15:13, “that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  As with the parable of the Good Samaritan, so often that great love is lain down for those who are strangers – one’s “not yet” friends.  So it was with the Sister Paula Vandegaer, […]

  • Abortion in the Land of Lincoln | October 30, 2019

    The drama now playing out on the Missouri-Illinois border has some resonance with previous questions in American history. The drama involves a bold plan by the national abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, to open a mammoth abortion facility in southwest Illinois, just 13 miles from downtown St. Louis where is found the last abortion center remaining […]

  • Anti-Discrimination Laws in the Womb: New Momentum for Protection | October 25, 2019

    The entire text of this publication may be found as a pdf at Anti-Discrimination Laws in the Womb: New Momentum for Protection.   Something interesting is afoot in recent disappointments for advocates of the right to life.  In a series of cases that may test the appeal of a new jurisprudence on abortion, two federal […]

  • New Study Details Development Benchmarks for People with Down Syndrome | January 23, 2019

    It’s the 10-week appointment. Readying the fetal Doppler, your Ob-Gyn reassures you not to worry if you don’t hear a heartbeat immediately. Your body grows tense and your breath escapes you as the worst-case scenario crosses your mind for the first time.   It’s colder in the room than you thought. After a few tense […]

  • Review: Summer in the Forest – Disability and the Human Experience | April 30, 2018

      What does it mean to be human? This is the fundamental question presented in the film Summer in the Forest (“Summer”). A documentary of people with intellectual disabilities, Summer suggests that friendship and relationship are central to the human experience and dignity.   Screening now in North America, Summer documents life at the original […]

  • Abortion Pill Reversal: A Second Chance at Choice | April 17, 2018

    A new and groundbreaking study has thrown the U.S. abortion establishment into a tizzy, and it’s easy to understand why.   For years, proponents of medication abortion (or chemical abortion, as some call it) have criticized a protocol aimed at reversing drug-induced abortions on the primary ground that the number of cases where such reversals […]

  • Louisiana Legislature Moves to Expand Adoption | April 10, 2018

    On April 4, 2018, the Louisiana House of Representatives made significant progress in the promotion of adoption as an abortion alternative. The Louisiana House Education Committee and Health and Welfare Committee each advanced pro-adoption legislation to a full House session for debate on April 11, 2018.     First, the Louisiana House Health and Welfare […]

  • Rewire’s Reckless Push for Mail-Order Mifeprex | December 1, 2017

    To view this paper as a PDF, see: Rewire’s Reckless Push for Mail-Order Mifeprex   In pursuit of the possibility that abortion drugs could be distributed via pharmacies or mail order shipment for at-home use, researchers from a group called Gynuity Health Projects sought RU-486 online from 20 websites and had them tested for their potency […]

  • Remembering Pro-life Hero Henry Hyde | November 30, 2017

    The following article appeared at National Review Online, November 29, 2017   Today is the tenth anniversary of the death of the greatest champion the pro-life cause has ever known, Representative Henry J. Hyde of Illinois. It is hard to believe that this physical and moral giant of a man is gone, much less that […]

  • Oregon’s Command Performance on Abortion Chains Conscience | September 18, 2017

    Oregon Governor Kate Brown broke what theater patrons would call the “fourth wall” when she signed House Bill 3391 into law on August 14, dragging every resident of her state into the vast public drama over abortion and human rights. In an egregious and unprecedented move, Oregon has become the first state to guarantee free abortions for all residents—backed by the full faith and credit of the taxpayer.  With this step, it becomes increasingly difficult for any Oregonian to sit in the audience on so important as issue.

  • CLI President Chuck Donovan: Eliminating Down Syndrome Children Is Not Something to Be Proud Of | September 1, 2017

    In a recent op-ed at The Daily Signal, CLI President Chuck Donovan responded to tragic news about the disappearance of children with Down Syndrome from Iceland due to genetic screening and abortion: This week, the CBS News program “On Assignment” included a long feature on what it described as the near eradication of Down syndrome in Iceland. […]

  • Planned Parenthood: “Irreplaceable” and “Lifesaving”? – Infographic | August 2, 2017

    This infographic is based on the Charlotte Lozier Institute paper, Planned Parenthood: “Irreplaceable” and “Lifesaving”?

  • Planned Parenthood: “Irreplaceable” and “Lifesaving”? |

    In its most recent annual report, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America makes two fundamental claims, both of which are directly relevant to the question involving continued government funding for its services, approximately $555 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016. These claims are:

    • First, that Planned Parenthood health centers are “an irreplaceable component of our country’s healthcare system”, and;
    • Second, that Planned Parenthood provides “lifesaving care.”

  • Heritage Foundation “Index of Culture and Opportunity”: Life Is on the Right Track | July 31, 2017

    On July 20, 2017, The Heritage Foundation published the fourth installment of its annual Index of Culture and Opportunity (“Index”). The Index is an exercise in civil society that tracks and analyzes data that affects freedom and opportunity. Heritage writers explore three indicators: (1) cultural indicators, (2) poverty and dependence indicators, and (3) general opportunity indicators. Among the cultural indicators, Heritage analyzes America’s abortion rate.

  • Checking Politifact on Women’s Alternatives to Planned Parenthood | May 16, 2017

    Politifact-checks are almost never the last word, and the latest one from Politifact Georgia criticizing Congressman Barry Loudermilk for his assessment of women’s real healthcare alternatives to Planned Parenthood is a case in point.

  • Pregnancy Help Centers: A Consensus Service to Women and Children | April 13, 2017

    People of all backgrounds and political perspectives, including on the underlying question of legal abortion, appreciate what pregnancy help centers accomplish. Giving these entities room to work should be a given as our nation continues its long debate over what is best for women and the unborn.

  • Transcript of Remarks of Chuck Donovan on the Release of “Abortion Worldwide Report” | February 7, 2017

    On January 25, Charlotte Lozier Institute President Chuck Donovan presented opening remarks at the Family Research Council during an event launching the major report entitled, “Abortion Worldwide Report: 100 Countries, 1 Century, 1 Billion Babies.” The report, authored by William Robert Johnston, Ph.D., and Thomas W. Jacobson, M.A., is the first to systematically track reported abortions in 100 nations, territories, and regions, from the year of authorization through 2015.

  • Abortion Reporting: Toward a Better National Standard | August 24, 2016

    Because abortion and abortion policies impact thousands of women’s and families’ lives every day, abortion policy must be grounded on the most accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date statistical information and health data.

  • Dr. Biscet Receives His Medal of Freedom | June 28, 2016

    There is a remarkable coda to our recent story about Cuban pro-life physician and human rights hero Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet. On Thursday, June 23, in Dallas, former President George W. Bush welcomed Dr. Biscet to the Bush Center and personally presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom he had awarded him in absentia in 2007 when Dr. Biscet was serving a 25-year sentence in a Castro prison.

  • A Baby is Not a Mosquito | May 24, 2016

    Ana Carolina Caceres is a journalist in Brazil. In a photograph in a recent story about her, she wears a garland of flowers, a simple necklace and a pleasant if somewhat nonplussed expression on her face. Caceres’ writing is clear and straightforward, as befits the blogger she is, but the story is not about her chosen profession – about what she does – but about who she is. Or rather a condition she has that some think should define her – or even have prevented her coming to birth.

    Ms. Caceres was diagnosed at birth with microcephaly, the condition so much in the news as a result of a spike in cases associated with the spread of the Zika virus across Latin America.

  • Lozier Institute Files Brief in Support of Daleiden & Center for Medical Progress | May 11, 2016

    The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) and Americans United for Life (AUL) recently filed an amicus brief in a major lawsuit over the late-term abortion videotapes collected by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). This lawsuit involves a vital public policy question: Can an association of abortion providers like the National Abortion Federation (NAF) successfully block the release of videos that show members of their organization potentially engaged in encouraging, supporting or facilitating the acquisition and/or sale of body parts from the unborn during the abortion process?

  • Bicameral Congressional Letter Demands Transparency from FDA | April 26, 2016

    Yesterday 75 members of Congress, led by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration demanding answers to questions about the FDA’s surprise approval of relaxed protocols for the distribution of the abortion-inducing drug regimen known as Mifeprex. The changes, announced on March 30, significantly increase the duration of pregnancy at which the drug regimen may be administered, raising it from 49 days (7 weeks) from the last menstrual period (LMP) to 70 days (10 weeks) post-LMP.

  • AAPLOG on Zika and Abortion: An “Abuse of Power” | February 29, 2016

    The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) has issued a helpful statement on the Zika virus and the effort by the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights to exploit its spread to promote abortion and repeal of national laws against the practice. The statement contains a number of useful links regarding what is known about the virus and the recommendations of responsible agencies. Footnotes are supplied by Charlotte Lozier Institute. The AAPLOG website can be accessed at www.aaplog.org.

  • Charlotte Lozier Institute Letter to Congressional Budget Office regarding Defunding Planned Parenthood Estimates | February 5, 2016

    On November 9, 2015, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, at CBO’s invitation, submitted a detailed letter to CBO describing six ways in which its analysis leads to misleading conclusions about the federal budget impact of the Planned Parenthood cutoff. In fact, among other points CLI argues that rechanneling funds from Planned Parenthood to primary care providers will lead to budget savings in Medicaid, that CBO underestimates Planned Parenthood’s private sector fundraising resilience, that CBO uses an incorrect (too high by 20%) figure for Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive client base, and that the 10-year budget window analysis artificially shows new costs for Medicaid enrollees but neglects the contributions human beings make to sustain government programs in the second decade of their lives and beyond.

  • Rest in Peace, Dr. Carolyn Gerster | February 1, 2016

    A great champion of the unborn, Carolyn Gerster, M.D., a founder of both Arizona Right to Life and the National Right to Life Committee, has passed away. Dr. Gerster truly was a woman of valor. She was trained as a cardiac electrophysiologist and she understood with a passion the medical truths about the beginning of human life and its transcendent value. I first met her when I was hired as a legislative assistant by NRLC in 1978. Tall, graceful, brilliant and blessed with the ability to move audiences, everyone from laypeople to legal experts to legislators, Dr. Gerster was a natural choice to lead NRLC during years when it grew dramatically in size and influence. She ultimately served as NRLC’s international vice president, traveling the globe and reaching audiences on six continents. And she did so with a modesty of approach that ultimately could not disguise her knowledge and accomplishment.

  • Decline in Female Contraceptive Clients Continues at Planned Parenthood | January 4, 2016

    Of all the Planned Parenthood data being looked at today as a result of release of the agency’s annual report, one of the more significant is the continued decline in its client total for reversible contraceptive methods (excluding services like sterilization and emergency contraceptive kits). This number is distinct from its contraceptive services total, where discrete services provided to a single individual are separately tallied, leading to a higher overall figure for services and a reduction in the apparent significance of a single “service” like abortion. The reversible contraceptive client total simply refers to the number of women coming to Planned Parenthood to obtain reversible contraception like oral contraceptives, barrier methods and IUDs, and this number continued to drop in 2014 – by more than 122,000 women, or more than 5.7 percent of those clients.

  • Planned Parenthood and the Public Purse | September 29, 2015

    In a radio interview on the Diane Rehm Show on July 30, Terry O’Neill of the National Organization for Women (NOW) made a series of claims regarding Planned Parenthood that deserve a much closer look. O’Neill asserted that, “The claim that we can somehow replace Planned Parenthood overnight – you shut down all the Planned Parenthood’s [sic] clinics and that they could be replaced overnight, is silly and specious.”

    It is indeed silly and specious because none of the proposals pending in Congress would shut down Planned Parenthood clinics and replace them, overnight or anytime. Instead, the discussion is about shifting the $528.4 million of total government funds away from Planned Parenthood and to the thousands of existing community health centers and other providers.

  • Planned Parenthood: The Way of the Fotomat | August 5, 2015

    In the wake of the spreading scandal over the sale of human organs extracted from unborn children, members of Congress are calling for the end of federal funding of Planned Parenthood. A first attempt in the U.S. Senate to do this failed on Monday of this week, but a dozen more Senators voted for the cut-off than did so the last time it was considered, in 2011. A cut-off would be condign punishment for an elite institution long given to dismissive responses to evidence of ethical misconduct, but the latest charges are hardly the only reason to wean this mega-wealthy nonprofit from the federal dole. In truth, the stand-alone Planned Parenthood facility is obsolete.

  • Late-Term Abortion: Many-Layered Social Injustice | January 20, 2015

    The issue of late-term abortion is among the most agonizing and controversial areas within the larger, contentious debate on the morality and legality of abortion. To begin with, by the 20th week or fifth month of pregnancy, the fetus is clearly recognizable as a neonate and she is routinely described on professional medical websites in terms that stress her individuality and humanity; in addition, the methods used to terminate fetal life after five months are particularly grim and are often cited by abortion practitioners themselves in ways that indicate their ethical or aesthetic revulsion.

  • Charlotte Lozier Institute, alongside Family Research Council, Joins Comment Filed by Alliance Defending Freedom on New Federal Transparency Rules | December 22, 2014

    On Monday, December 22, Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) joined with Family Research Council (FRC) as cosignatories on comments filed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) regarding new federal rules from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Personnel Management on transparency in health insurance coverage of abortion. The comment covers two separate rulemakings, one of which concerns the general use of federal tax subsidies to purchase health insurance plans on the federal and state insurance exchanges, and another which addresses transparency with respect to certain multi-state plans (MSPs) managed by OPM under the Affordable Care Act.

  • Obamacare’s New Abortion Surcharge Rule: Opaque and Oblique | November 24, 2014

    Government agencies have a distressing habit of releasing information they don’t care to highlight on the eve of holidays, or late on a Friday – or, whenever possible, both. That is why it comes as relatively little surprise that the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) used last Friday evening to issue an important rule on abortion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The rule, moreover, was parceled in a 350-page document that, like other issuances, invited only the most active readers.

  • Obamacare Exchanges: Wait and See on Abortion Transparency | November 10, 2014

    Later this week the federal and state exchanges created under Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, will open for their second year of operation. After last year’s rugged rollout, with extremely expensive web sites that functioned poorly, the Obama Administration has invested millions more in fixing the federal site, healthcare.gov, and is promising better performance. It is far from clear that this improvement will happen, and in the area of abortion coverage nothing is clear at all.

  • Preventive Services Mandate Accommodation, 8th Edition, Falls Short | September 4, 2014

    Liberty can be explained in a handful of words; deprivations of liberty usually require thousands.  That is the case with the latest iteration of the accommodations permitted under the Obama Administration’s preventive services mandate, which was published on Friday, August 22.  The Obama Health and Human Services (HHS) Department issued its latest rulemakings designed to […]

  • CLI President Chuck Donovan Interviewed on EWTN Radio | July 9, 2014

    Charlotte Lozier Institute President Chuck Donovan was a recent guest on the Teresa Tomeo show on Ave Maria/EWTN Radio to discuss the Lozier Institute’s newest paper “Improving Joyful Lives: Society’s Response to Difference and Disability.”

  • The Universal Core of Conscience | March 25, 2014

    On Tuesday of this week the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in two cases to decide whether private companies can refuse to comply with a federal mandate to supply health insurance coverage for abortifacient drugs and contraceptives.  The cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, will test the strength of […]

  • Elective Abortion Coverage Information Still Elusive | December 13, 2013

    From the beginning of the rollout of the federal and state websites displaying health insurance plans eligible for premium subsidies, the ability to identify key elements of the plans, compare and contrast them, and understand the scope of coverage and other issues has been limited at best.  In most cases, it was necessary at the […]

  • Supreme Court Will Review Abortion Drug Cases | November 26, 2013

    Today the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will review two cases where the government is trying to force Christian-owned businesses to provide health care coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs.

  • Court Lets Texas Abortion Regulation Take Effect: Three Things You Need to Know | November 1, 2013

    Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order that allows a recently enacted Texas abortion regulation to take effect. The case is called Planned Parenthood v. Abbott and it was filed by several Planned Parenthood entities and similar organizations. Here are three things you need to know about the case.

  • ObamaClarity at Day 9: Abortion Coverage Still Opaque | October 9, 2013

    More than a week into the enrollment period for health insurance via the federal-state insurance exchanges, whether existing plan options include elective abortion remains anything but clear.  Under Obamacare, a cluster of Multi-State Plans (MSPs) are likely to include elective abortion coverage in 27 states.  In each of those states, at least one MSP is […]

  • Multi-State Health Plans: A Potential Avenue to Tens of Thousands of Publicly Subsidized Abortions | September 1, 2013

    In this report, CLI President Chuck Donovan documents how multi-state plans (MSPs) created under the Affordable Care Act are one pathway that would allow for an additional 111,500 publicly subsidized abortions per year.

  • CLI Comment on West Virginia Laws and Regulations Pertaining to Abortion | August 16, 2013

    The Lozier Institute filed a comment on a West Virginia law, urging for a gestational age limit to abortions and implementation of health and safety standards for abortion facilities.

  • Survival of Extremely Premature Infants Possible, Improving | May 17, 2013

    In a new video released by commentator William Saletan at Slate magazine, the author critiques videos released by the activist group Live Action regarding clinics that perform late-term abortions.  In those videos, Live Action shows interactions between women whose pregnancies are in the range of 23 completed weeks of gestation.  Saletan critiques the editing of […]

  • Lozier Institute President Chuck Donovan Discusses Abortion Reporting at NY Times | April 6, 2013

    1/21/2013: Charlotte Lozier Institute President Chuck Donovan discusses the importance of accurate and reliable abortion reporting in the states at the New York Times.

  • The Adoption Tax Credit: Progress and Prospects for Expansion | March 1, 2013

    This paper surveys the current state of federal and state adoption tax credits, which provide relief to families who choose to adopt a child. The paper makes several recommendations including making the adoption tax credit refundable so that adoption is an option for more families as it is such a positive force for children, families, and the country as a whole.

  • Abortion Reporting Laws: Tears in the Fabric | December 1, 2012

    This paper investigates national and state abortion reporting laws and policies in the United States. The paper makes several recommendations for streamlining and improving this broken system.

  • Saving Savita | November 20, 2012

    The tragic news of the death of an expectant mother in Ireland has drawn worldwide attention in a way, it is safe to say, deaths of other expectant mothers (like Tonya Reaves, who died as a result of a botched abortion at Planned Parenthood last July) have not.  The death of Savita Halappanavar is worthy of the closest scrutiny, […]