DENVER — After a pornography tycoon donated millions to an international abortion group, one non-profit youth initiative warned of a dangerous link between the two industries.

Lindsay Fay, a mission team manager for The Culture Project, highlighted the connection between pornography and abortion. She told CNA that while both industries claim to emphasize sexual empowerment and women’s rights, they instead do a great deal of harm to human dignity.

“[In] the pornography industry and the abortion industry, [they promote] ... empowerment for women, but it is actually a false form of empowerment. There really is an enslavement to feeling the pressure to end the pregnancy or end a human life,” she said.

Since 1995, Marie Stopes International (MSI) has received over $9 million in donations from Phil Harvey, the CEO of Adam & Eve - a large erotica distributor. The donations to MSI are received in cash and supplies.

Established as a mail-order firm in 1971, Adam & Eve brought in around $72 million dollars last year. The company donates about 25% of its annual profit through Harvey’s charitable foundation, DKT International - a non-profit focusing on abortion and contraceptives.

Harvey is a board member of MSI, which promotes contraception and abortion worldwide. In 2019, MSI was responsible for about 5 million abortions globally.

MSI defended Harvey’s contributions.

“Phil Harvey has spent his life defending sexual and reproductive health and rights, and has played a significant role in expanding access for women across the world. We are proud that he continues to contribute to the organisation,” the group said, according to the Daily Mail.

Fay said it is a cultural misunderstanding that either pornography or abortion is empowering for women. She said both industries rest on a false understanding of sexual liberty and human dignity.

“Both of those industries rest on the [idea] that we can do what we want with our sexuality regardless of the cost. Unfortunately, some of those decisions have led to the ending of human life.”

She pointed to studies showing that pornography increases demand for human sex trafficking. About 30% of all internet traffic is pornography, and about 1 in 3 Americans seek out pornography at least once a month, she added.

“Pornography fuels the demand for sexual exploitation,” she said. “What most people don't know is that pornography often uses women and children who are forced or coerced to be filmed.”

“The biggest connection between pornography and abortion is human trafficking, which is pretty ironic because almost anyone in our world will be able to look at human trafficking and say this is dehumanizing.”

A 2017 survey by the Family Research Council interviewed 66 women who survived sex trafficking. More than half of the women said they had abortions while being trafficked. One in three reported having more than one abortion.

“When it comes to pornography or when it comes to abortion, those things are seen as no big deal or unrelated or unconnected. But, in this case, pornography demands and fuels human trafficking,” she said.

The Culture Project is a non-profit that promotes sexual integrity and human dignity by sending mission teams to different communities across the country. Trained young adult missionaries speak to young people in classroom settings or witness to individuals outside of abortion facilities. They currently have teams in cities including Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.

Fay said the missionaries discuss topics including the damage caused by pornography and how sexual exploitation can lead to abortion.

“Whenever a human person is devalued and not respected, it kind of breeds a culture that accepts things like abortion or other forms of dehumanization,” she said.

“The Culture Project is a movement of young people set out on mission to restore culture. We proclaim the inherent dignity of the human person and the richness of living a life of sexual integrity, inviting our culture to become fully alive.”