Project 2025 July 3rd Update

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Project 2025 is a 920-page plan spearheaded by the powerful and extreme far-right Heritage Foundation. More than 100 organizations support this blueprint for autocracy. Their stated goal is to create an “ideal” America that would see women, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, people of color, and others deprived of their hard-won constitutional rights and the erosion of environmental and education protections. It also advocates for a frightening centralization of power in the executive branch. Rooted in hate and Christian Nationalism, the plan promises to “rescue the country.” Read GPAHE’s full analysis of Project 2025 and the groups behind it.

GPAHE tracks the activities of those behind Project 2025, and their plans for an authoritarian and Christian Nationalist America, no matter who is president, and the groups in this extremist movement are relentlessly implementing initiatives at local, state, and federal levels.

This week we look at 18 Project 2025 organizations battling against surrogacy, Project 2025’s war on higher education, and how recent SCOTUS decisions help further Project 2025’s goal of dismantling the “administrative state.” We’ll also hear directly from a host of Project 2025 supporters, including Charlie Kirk, Kevin Roberts, Candace Owens and others, in their own words.

The Battle Over Surrogacy: 18 Project 2025 Partners Take Aim

As assisted reproductive technologies like surrogacy become more accessible, a coalition of conservative organizations is mobilizing to restrict these practices, largely because they are used by LGBTQ+ families. At the forefront is Project 2025. According to an extensive  Media Matters review, at least 18 Project 2025 organizations have publicly presented arguments against surrogacy. Here’s a breakdown of each group’s stance:

The Heritage Foundation: Leading the charge is the Heritage Foundation, the organizational force behind Project 2025. Emma Waters, a senior research associate at Heritage, has penned numerous articles criticizing assisted reproductive technologies. Waters argues that surrogacy and IVF amount to “concubinage” and “a form of slavery,” likening the industry to “commercialized and contractual baby selling.” She grounds her opposition in biblical teachings, claiming surrogacy violates divine plans for procreation. Waters also asserts that same-sex parent households create worse outcomes for children, echoing a common and false conservative talking point. She contends that surrogacy serves to “erase biological mothers” and contributes to “the erasure of motherhood.” Waters attributes the push for surrogacy to groups “hostile to the rights of children and the unborn.” She has called for banning international commercial surrogacy, arguing it “devalues the meaning of citizenship” and promotes “the commodification of women and children.”

1792 Exchange: This organization, “whose mission is to develop policy and resources to protect and equip non-profits, small businesses and philanthropy from ‘woke’ corporations,” criticized Netflix in a “spotlight bias report” for offering “adoption, surrogacy and parental leave for same-sex couples.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF): ADF published a white paper claiming that surrogacy violates the human rights and inherent dignity of women. The paper draws parallels between human trafficking and surrogacy, as well as between surrogacy and prostitution. ADF argues that states should prohibit surrogacy in their legislation to protect human rights. ADF representatives have referred to surrogacy as the ability to “rent women to gestate these children that are desired” and criticized it for allowing same-sex couples to conceive children.

American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and GynecologistsThis group filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to take up a surrogacy case and stop what they describe as the “exploitation” of mothers and children.

American Compass: This conservative economic think tank, which believes the collapse of the family “poses the greatest threat to American liberty and prosperity,” published an article describing surrogacy as one of “the ways in which sex and children are treated and discussed as consumer commodities.”

The American Conservative: This publication, co-founded by Patrick Buchanan, has been particularly vocal in its opposition to surrogacy. Its contributors have called surrogacy a “moral abomination” and a “relegation of women to the status of incubators.” They’ve described it as “inhuman” and “unnatural,” and have compared surrogacy with child trafficking. The American Conservative has also criticized surrogacy for allowing LGBTQ+ families to have children. “The issue of surrogacy is no longer dismissible. Indeed, commercial surrogacy is being justified on precisely the same grounds that have allowed abortion and transgenderism to become not just acceptable, but glorified and worshiped. It is an extension of that creature whose tentacles are already so deep in our schools, our military, our businesses, our government, and our public life,” contributing editor Carmel Richardson wrote on December 22, 2023. 

American Principles Project (APP): APP claims surrogacy “facilitates the deliberate separation of children from one or both of their biological parents.” The organization’s president has called it “baby-snatching and womb renting.” APP suggests Republican politicians should “oppose all efforts to legalize commercial surrogacy.”

Americans United for Life: This legal and public policy anti-abortion advocacy group, which took in nearly $3 million in 2023,  has referred to surrogacy as “incompatible with a free society and the human right to life” and decried its “artificial, mercenary character.”

California Family Council (CFC): CFC, affiliated with Focus on the Family, has attacked bills providing reproductive care to LGBTQ+ families, arguing that surrogacy is “disregarding basic science and natural law” and is “irresponsible and immoral.” They contend that surrogacy intentionally separates children from one or both biological parents.

The Claremont Institute: In its publication The American Mind, the Institute claimed surrogacy is a tool used by “oligarchs” to “attack the concept of motherhood.”

Discovery Institute: At the Discovery Institute, a think tank advocating for intelligent design and opposing evolution, senior fellow Wesley J. Smith has written that surrogacy is part of a “new eugenics” in the fertility industry. He argues that it makes a “legal, emotional, and moral mess” of family life and compares surrogate mothers to “workers exploited in sweatshop conditions.”

Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC): EPPC fellows have described surrogacy as a “despicable practice” and “a form of human trafficking.” They argue that surrogacy has “attenuated the relationship between conception, pregnancy, and childbirth.” Some have called commercial surrogacy “just a form of concubinage for the well-off” and claim it “treats the child as a thing, a commodity that can be bought and sold.”

Family Policy Alliance: This organization, an alliance of state policy councils and the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family, claims surrogacy contracts involve “stripping the true biological parents of their right to parent their child” and warns about its use by “single people, transgender individuals and, especially, gay couples.”

Family Research Council (FRC): The Family Research Council, technically a church, has lobbied against abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, divorce, and many LGBTQ+ rights, including anti-discrimination laws, civil unions, same-sex marriage and adoption. FRC has claimed surrogacy involves “a multitude of health risks and psychological and medical harms.” They’ve called on the Supreme Court to “review the constitutional violations inherent” in surrogacy and argued that it “preys upon women and children.”

Independent Women’s Forum: Madeleine Kerans, a senior fellow and anti-gender ideology activist, wrote that in surrogacy, “the child created is, in effect, an orphan.”

Liberty University: William Wolfe of the University’s Standing for Freedom Center has argued that surrogacy is “taxpayer-funded trampling of children’s rights and the government-sponsored destruction of the family.” 

Students for Life of America: This primarily anti-abortion organization has claimed that “surrogacy creates a broken circumstance” for children. They’ve described the practice as “transactional” and “a vanity of self,” representing a “heavily commercialized baby market.”

Turning Point USA: The organization’s representatives have criticized surrogacy as “a transactional experience.” They’ve argued that it represents “a culture that glorifies parenthood on demand” and claimed that surrogacy contributes to “a world where children are being designed and purchased and commodified.” 

As these organizations continue to build their case against surrogacy, framing the issue as a moral, religious, and social imperative, the debate over assisted reproductive technologies is likely to intensify in the coming years, Media Matters reports. Their collective efforts, through Project 2025, aim to influence policy at the highest levels of government, potentially reshaping the landscape of reproductive rights in America.

Read more about the groups behind Project 2025.

The War on Higher Ed: Inside Project 2025’s Radical Plan to Reshape Student Debt

For millions of Americans, the pursuit of higher education has long been seen as a pathway to opportunity and upward mobility. But Project 2025 threatens to upend that promise, potentially saddling students and graduates with crushing debt for decades to come.

Project 2025 outlines a vision for dramatically reshaping federal student loan programs and weakening support for higher education. Critics warn it could make college unaffordable for many and trap borrowers in a cycle of ballooning debt.

“The current Administration has recklessly engaged in the policy fetish of forgiving and canceling student loans with abandon,” Lindsey Burke writes in Project 2025’s Mandate for Leadership. 

At the heart of Project 2025 is a plan to overhaul income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, which tie monthly student loan payments to a borrower’s income. The proposal calls for scrapping existing IDR options, including the Biden administration’s new Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan, in favor of a one-size-fits-all approach that would significantly increase costs for most borrowers.

Analysis of Project 2025’s proposed changes paints a stark picture, the Center for American Progress reported on June 24, 2024.  For typical earners aged 25 to 34, the plan would mean shelling out thousands more each year in student loan payments:

– Those with some college but no degree: $2,761 more annually

– Associate degree holders: $2,933 more

– Bachelor’s degree recipients: $4,064 more

– Master’s degree graduates: $2,685 more

The plan would also lower the income threshold at which borrowers must start making payments from $34,000 to just $15,000 — meaning even those living at the poverty line would be on the hook for monthly payments.

Perhaps most alarmingly, Project 2025 would eliminate key protections that prevent loan balances from spiraling out of control. Under current IDR plans like SAVE, the government covers unpaid interest to stop balances from growing even when borrowers are making regular payments. Project 2025 would do away with this safeguard.

Many borrowers could see their loan balances increase year after year, even as they faithfully make payments. It’s a phenomenon that disproportionately impacts Black borrowers, Pell Grant recipients, and those from low-income backgrounds.

For public servants like teachers, nurses, and first responders, Project 2025 delivers another blow by proposing to eliminate popular loan forgiveness programs. Gone would be initiatives like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which cancels remaining debt for qualifying borrowers after 10 years of service.

Project 2025 is part of a broader conservative assault on higher education itself. The proposal is peppered with language skeptical of the value of college, particularly for students pursuing liberal arts degrees.

“We’re telling too many people to go to college more and more and that college is the only way to success,” Lindsey Burke said at a Heritage seminar on falling birth rates in March 2024. “More time in higher education is prolonging adolescence and delaying marriage and family formation.”

Project 2025 sees all secular education as a form of progressive indoctrination and even calls for the dismantling of the Department of Education, which it calls a “one-stop shop for the woke education cartel.” Discouraging higher education is also very much part of Project 2025’s agenda. “Rather than continuing to buttress a higher education establishment captured by woke “diversicrats” and a de facto monopoly enforced by the federal accreditation cartel, federal postsecondary education policy should prepare students for jobs in the dynamic economy, nurture institutional diversity, and expose schools to greater market forces,” the Project states. 

The Supreme Court’s Conservative Crusade: Dismantling the Administrative State

In a spate of consequential rulings, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has taken significant steps toward realizing one of Project 2025’s key goals: the deconstruction of the so-called administrative state. 

Two landmark decisions last week, both decided along ideological lines, have dealt severe blows to regulatory agencies’ ability to interpret and enforce laws, shifting some power away from the executive branch and toward the federal judiciary.

These rulings align closely with the objectives outlined in Project 2025, which explicitly calls for the dismantling of administrative agencies. The decisions in SEC v. Jarkesy and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo represent a concerted effort to limit the authority of regulatory bodies and consolidate power within the courts, The Intercept reported.

In SEC v. Jarkesy, the Court undermined the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ability to impose civil penalties through administrative proceedings, a power granted by Congress in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. On June 27, 2024, the majority ruled that this mechanism violated the constitutional right to a jury trial, potentially impacting similar enforcement procedures at over two dozen agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration.

The Loper Bright decision on June 28, 2024 struck an even more significant blow to regulatory authority by overturning the long-standing Chevron doctrine. This precedent, established in 1976, required courts to defer to agencies’ reasonable interpretations of ambiguous statutes within their area of expertise. By discarding this principle, the Court has effectively stripped agencies of their role in interpreting the laws they enforce, a move that could have far-reaching consequences across various sectors of government. 

“In one fell swoop, the majority today gives itself exclusive power over every open issue—no matter how expertise-driven or policy-laden—involving the meaning of regulatory law,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent. “As if it did not have enough on its plate, the majority turns itself into the country’s administrative czar.”

The Claremont Institute, a Project 2025 supporter, gave itself a hearty pat on the back after the ruling in an email to supporters. “In our amicus brief to the court, we argued, as we have since the beginning, that the Founding Fathers intended a system of checks and balances. The administrative state is an obvious threat to this system. It leaps over—purposely—judicial review.

Whether Congress has improperly delegated lawmaking to a federal agency, or the executive branch has usurped Congressional authority is moot under Chevron,” Claremont president Ryan Williams wrote, referencing the work of Claremont’s legal arm, the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (CCJ). “I am enormously proud of my CCJ colleagues, John Eastman and Tom Caso, and I am proud of the intellectual and practical work many at Claremont did in the past to set up this victory.” (Claremont’s Eastman, who has been criminally indicted on felony charges and recommended for disbarment, was a legal architect behind the scheme to create slates of fake electors to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.)

The implications of these rulings extend far beyond the immediate cases at hand. They set the stage for further challenges to regulatory bodies like the National Labor Relations Board and the Federal Trade Commission. Moreover, they signal a broader trend of the Supreme Court’s willingness to dismantle settled law and reshape the balance of power within the federal government.

The ruling could have profound effects on public health, safety, and economic stability. The Court’s decisions may hamper efforts to regulate pollution, ensure food and drug safety, maintain financial market integrity, and enforce labor laws, The Intercept reported.

“If Americans are worried about their drinking water, their health, their retirement account, discrimination on the job, if they fly on a plane, drive a car, if they go outside and breathe the air — all of these day-to-day activities are run through a massive universe of federal agency regulations,” Lisa Heinzerling, an expert in administrative law at Georgetown University told the New York Times. “And this decision now means that more of those regulations could be struck down by the courts.”

Both rulings mark a significant victory for the conservative legal movement and a step toward realizing the vision outlined in Project 2025. As the conservative Court continues to chip away at the foundations of the administrative state, the full impact of this ideological shift remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is that the balance of power in Washington is tilting decisively toward the judiciary, with potentially far-reaching consequences for American governance and society.

In Their Own Words

“…The left has taken over our institutions. The reason that they are apoplectic right now, the reason that so many anchors on MSNBC, for example, are losing their minds daily is because our side is winning. And so I come full circle on this response and just want to encourage you with some substance that we are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

— Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts on Steve Bannon’s War Room, June 2, 2024.

“Left wingers are now openly calling for the public assassination of Donald Trump. Happy Monday, everybody. This has been a bad week to be a Democrat and a liberal. And by the way, you better watch out. They’re gonna get very violent ’cause that’s what the left is. These people are deranged. Do not take the bait they want to trigger us, but be ready to defend yourself and your family if they come hunting you, because these are sick people.”

— Charlie Kirk, president of Turning Point USA, on his July 1, 2024 podcast.

“I don’t give two fucks about going to Danbury Prison. Here’s what I give a fuck about. We’re gonna take down Merrick Garland, Lisa Monaco, and the corrupt DOJ and the FBI and all of it.”

— Project 2025 proponent Steve Bannon on the Charlie Kirk Show, Sunday, June 30, 2024, the day before beginning his prison sentence.

William Wolfe, a writer for Project 2025 supporter Liberty University’s Standing for Freedom Center and a former senior official in the Trump administration.

“So the Bible says marriage is between man and woman. Well what we know is that the satanists that are running our society are going, no, actually it can be between everyone and anyone. And why not between a horse and a human? ‘Cause that seems to be where we are headed. Specifically, don’t you think it’s also interesting that for pride they chose the rainbow? So something that we understand from the Bible to be a promise from God following a flood, they had decided to pervert that. If they weren’t so intentional about trying to attack Christianity, you might be able to hold onto that belief that God isn’t real. But once you start paying attention, you notice the Christian conspiracy, it never leaves you.”

— Candace Owens of Project 2025 supporter Turning Point USA’s BLEXIT, on her YouTube show, July 1, 2024

“I definitely believe the moon landing was faked.”

— Candace Owens of Project 2025 supporter Turning Point USA’s BLEXIT, on her YouTube show, July 1, 2024

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