Center For Reproductive Rights




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $58,443,821
Expenses: $35,927,707
Assets: $66,136,459

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The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) is an abortion advocacy group which frequently sues to stop and/or overturn pro-life laws in the United States and internationally. Founded in 1992, CRR’s revenues totaled nearly $32,000,000 in 2016. 1


Center for Reproductive Rights is most known for its pro bono legal action in favor of abortion. 2

Its 2018 annual report claims significant credit for legal action which created cultural and legal change in Ireland to legalize abortion.  CRR challenged pro-life laws in Texas and elsewhere in the U.S. and sued against laws which put women found guilty of illegal abortions in jail in El Salvador. 3

In 2018, CRR also sued to stop the Trump administration overturning the Obama administration’s mandate that private companies provide insurance coverage for abortifacients, contraception, and sterilization and sued a hospital in Kenya at which staff was caught on camera abusing a woman going through labor. CRR’s lawsuit won the woman financial compensation, an apology from the hospital, and a major push for changes to maternal care in Kenya. 4

In 2016, CRR donated $2,828,360 to international “reproductive rights”-related legal action, advocacy, and promotion. 5

Sampling of U.S. cases in April 2019

CRR is among the most influential pro-abortion organizations when it comes to opposing pro-life laws in the United States. It won several victories and was prominently cited in the press in the last seven days of April 2019 for its legal actions.

CRR asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to overturn a 2014 law which made off-label use of RU-486 illegal. That law used Food and Drug Administration guidance about RU-486 instead of 2016 guidance, which abortion advocates said forced abortionists to use unnecessarily higher dosages of medication drugs. CRR won the case. 6

CRR also won a 4-3 decision by the Montana Supreme Court which allowed a nurse practitioner to provide abortions while a lawsuit surrounding the state’s professional restrictions against registered nurses providing abortions is ongoing. 7

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of CRR’s position that the state Constitution protects the right to abortion. 8 CRR also won a lower court’s ruling that the Trump administration rule which eliminated money for abortion providers who receive Title X fund. 9

The Alabama House passed a near-total ban on abortion – the only exception being life of the mother – that CRR also opposed. Before the bill reached the state Senate, a spokesperson for CRR said the bill unconstitutionally restricted abortions. 10

CRR also filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mississippi’s only abortion center after state officials made most abortions illegal after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected in the womb. 11

Earlier in 2019, CRR asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare a pro-life Louisiana law unconstitutional because it required abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. 12 CRR said the Court should find the law unconstitutional because a similar Texas law was declared burdensome by the Court in 2016. However, the Washington Examiner noted in mid-April 2019 at the time of CRR’s request that the 5-3 decision in 2016 took place prior to two right-leaning justices taking seats which were previously held by justices who generally ruled in favor of legalized abortion. 13


Zika Virus Campaign

In 2016, after the Zika virus outbreak began in South America, CRR began an international campaign to push for abortion in nations most affected by the virus. CRR used concerns about the virus causing microcephaly in unborn children when mothers contracted Zika. 14

The push by CRR and its allies in the U.S. government, the United Nations, and elsewhere was designed to overturn pro-life laws writ large. CRR pushed a report about illegal abortions which were done in several countries at increased rates, though the study itself had significant limitations which one researcher said made it virtually useless in terms of data. 1516

CRR continues to push for fully retracting all pro-life laws in the nations most affected by Zika. Its 2018 report “Unheard Voices” looks at how individuals and organizations responded to the outbreak in Brazil, Colombia, and El Salvador. 17 The report takes an explicit position that greater access to abortion would have reduced the impact of the virus, such as when it describes anti-virus funding in the U.S. as being held up by “political concerns” about abortion. Those “political concerns” were disagreements in Congress about whether Planned Parenthood – America’s largest network of abortion providers18 – should receive Zika-related funding, since abortion cannot prevent the Zika virus. 19

Congress eventually approved $1.1 billion in funding, $800 million short of the Obama administration’s initial funding request. In its report, CRR took issue with the smaller level of funding.


CRR has had two presidents in its existence. Founder Janet Benshoof was President from 1992 until 2002. 20 Nancy Northrup, formerly of the left-of-center legal policy outfit Brennan Center for Justice,21 has been president since 2003. Northrup earned over $490,000 in 2017. 22

Chief operating officer Richard Ryan earned over $235,000 in 2017, while Chief development officer Anne Matsui earned almost $280,000. Chief communications officer Christopher Iseli earned over $218,000, chief program officer Karen Hanrahan earned over $195,000, global legal program vice president Lilian Sepulveda earned nearly $173,000, and interim VP of U.S. legal programs Julie Rikelman earned over $190,000.


The Center for Reproductive Rights grossed $31,713,408 in 2016. 23 Much of that funding came from corporate and non-profit donors. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation donated $500,000 or more while George SorosOpen Society Foundations and the left-leaning grant maker Libra Foundation donated between $100,000 and $500,000. 24

According to CRR’s annual report, 48 percent of its funding came from individuals and 43 percent came from foundations. Nearly three-quarters of its funding went to its official programs, including $17.26 million in legal work for expanded abortion access and more liberal abortion laws. According to the report, “640 attorneys in 42 countries [worked] on more than 250 matters.” This work was provided pro bono to clients. 25

Almost one-third of its total programming from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 was done outside of the United States. Over 40 percent was done domestically. 26

According to a May 2024 post on Twitter/X by New York Times writer Teddy Schleifer, CCR has received donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 27


  1. Center for Reproductive Rights, 2016 990, Accessed May 2, 2019.
  2. Center for Reproductive Rights, Pro Bono Program, Accessed May 2, 2019.
  3. Center for Reproductive Rights, 2018 Annual Report, Accessed May 2, 2019.
  4. Susan Brink, “Kenyan Woman Abused By Nurses During Childbirth Wins Landmark Case,” April 10, 2018. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  5. Center for Reproductive Rights, 2016 990, Accessed May 2, 2019.
  6. Zack Budryk, “Oklahoma Supreme Court rules restricting drug-induced abortions is unconstitutional,” April 30, 2019. Accessed May 2, 2019.

  7. Kevin Trevellyan, “MT Supreme Court upholds abortion law injunction,” April 29, 2019. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  8. Center for Reproductive Rights, “Kansas Supreme Court says state Constitution protects abortion,” April 26, 2019. Accessed May 2, 2019.

  9. Center for Reproductive Rights, “Federal court blocks gag rule nationwide,” April 25, 2019. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  10. Melissa Jeltsen, “Alabama House passes bill to outlaw almost all abortions,” April 30, 2019. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  11. The Associated Press, “Lawyers: Mississippi making abortion ‘virtually unavailable’,” April 26, 2019. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  12. Center for Reproductive Rights, “Supreme Court steps in to protect abortion access in Louisiana,” February 7, 2019. Accessed May 2, 2019.

  13. Kimberly Leonard, “Pro-abortion rights group asks Supreme Court to strike Louisiana abortion restriction,” April 17, 2019. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  14. Center for Reproductive Rights, “Centering human rights in the response to Zika,” September 8, 2016. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  15. Dustin Siggins, “U.S. taxpayer-funded study: women are getting more illegal abortions thanks to Zika,” June 25, 2019. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  16. Center for Reproductive Rights, “New study: Zika virus fueling online demand for abortion pills in Latin America,” June 22, 2016. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  17. Center for Reproductive Rights, “Unheard voices: Women’s experiences with Zika – the global response,” September 5, 2018. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  18. DeSanctis, Alexandra. “Four Arguments for GOP Politicians Serious about Defunding Planned Parenthood.” National Review. April 16, 2019. Accessed July 22, 2019.
  19. Dustin Siggins, “Women, don’t let abortion industry scare you into aborting your child from Zika,” July 1, 2016. Accessed May 2, 2019.
  20. Center for Reproductive Rights, “Center for Reproductive Rights mourns the loss of founder Janet Benshoof,” December 19, 2017. Accessed May 2, 2019.

  21. “Nancy Northup: Center for Reproductive Rights.” Center for Reproductive Rights. Accessed July 22, 2019.
  22. Center for Reproductive Rights, 2016 990, Accessed May 2, 2019.

  23. Center for Reproductive Rights, 2016 990, Accessed May 2, 2019.
  24. Center for Reproductive Rights, 2018 Annual Report, Accessed May 2, 2019.
  25. Center for Reproductive Rights, 2018 Annual Report, Accessed May 2, 2019.
  26. Center for Reproductive Rights, 2018 Annual Report, Accessed May 2, 2019.
  27. Schleifer, Teddy (@teddyschleifer). Places that got some new Melinda money include @ReproRights and @19thnews. Twitter, May 28, 2024.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1997

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Jun Form 990 $58,443,821 $35,927,707 $66,136,459 $3,769,453 N $55,354,503 $0 $431,787 $2,545,425
    2020 Jun Form 990 $31,879,148 $36,158,716 $46,593,489 $5,734,578 N $29,380,342 $0 $334,775 $2,507,608 PDF
    2019 Jun Form 990 $35,162,456 $34,481,785 $48,198,602 $2,816,552 N $33,084,282 $0 $408,120 $2,225,257 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $34,071,507 $28,873,813 $48,585,361 $3,436,002 N $32,867,477 $0 $378,829 $1,771,643 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $31,713,408 $24,884,918 $42,348,665 $2,487,759 N $31,281,993 $0 $297,297 $1,345,942 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $26,996,640 $22,573,824 $33,535,731 $1,315,080 N $25,984,160 $0 $305,040 $1,853,550 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $16,080,532 $21,127,624 $29,883,039 $1,766,346 N $15,659,112 $0 $245,256 $1,389,503 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $18,448,640 $18,769,181 $35,499,034 $1,860,613 N $17,212,570 $507,783 $441,447 $1,560,039 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $28,200,989 $14,859,910 $34,604,882 $1,333,382 N $27,477,486 $0 $254,610 $1,526,862 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $4,931,507 $6,099,194 $20,705,919 $1,094,966 N $4,831,432 $0 $105,242 $275,867 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $9,734,479 $11,699,922 $21,363,128 $872,814 N $8,459,375 $15,000 $244,983 $574,296 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Center For Reproductive Rights

    NEW YORK, NY 10038-3533