Owner of Large US ‘Curves’ Fitness Chain Attacked for Contributing to Pro-Life Cause

Fri Apr 30, 2004 - 12:15 pm EST

SAN FRANCISCO, April 30, 2004 ( - A successful Christian business owner has come under attack by feminist extremists for using his profits to support pro-life charities.

Gary Heavin, the owner of a chain of extremely successful health and fitness centres for women, is a born-again Christian who gives 10% of his gross annual income to charities. Heavin is also the author of two books on fitness that take a Christian approach. His wife, Diana produces Christian music. Curves fitness centres cater particularly to middle-aged women who may be intimidated by other more youth-oriented fitness venues.

Curves franchises have surpassed Starbucks in numbers in the United States and are closing on McDonalds with sales that have hit $750 million a year. Heavin chooses to support the pro-life movement and that has elicited a powerful response from some feminist organizations and writers. “We get a lot of heat because we’re so expressive of our faith, and we encourage our faith,” Heavin says.  In a vitriolic article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Heavin’s contributions are described in terms often employed for supporters of terrorist organizations. He is accused of supporting Operation Save America that “blamed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on God’s retribution for abortions and whose purpose, as described on its Web site, is to ‘unashamedly take up the cause of pre-born children in the name of Jesus Christ.’”  The implication strongly appears to be that, if a successful business owner gives money to charity, he may not support organizations that oppose the feminist pro-abortion agenda.

A quick search on Google reveals that Heavin has come under fire from a phalanx of feminist writers in magazines such as “Bitch” and on listserves and weblogs where he is variously called a “pro-life-deadbeat-dad” and accused of the crime of supporting “fake pregnancy crisis centres.” Some writers speak of “sounding the alarm” on Heavin’s activities in a tone that suggests that to give money to the pro-life cause is tantamount to terrorism or conspiracy.

Annie Lamott, a feminist writer, said of the Curves franchises, “I hate the idea that this right-wing fundamentalist is making a profit on these places that make it easy for women to exercise. I don’t see how, in good conscience, someone like me, a staunch feminist and progressive, can in any way contribute to any organization that undermines women’s rights.”“It seems everything is tolerated except the Christian, and that’s a tragedy because of the need to put values in our boardrooms and classrooms,” Heavin says.  Read about Heavin’s success story:   San Francisco Chronicle article:

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