AUL Notes Mother Jones & Huffington Post Wrong on Life: Model Legislation Protects Women & Children from Abuse
By Americans United for Life
Monday, February 28th, 2011

Americans United for Life Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke noted that the anti-life media once again got their facts wrong in reporting on AUL’s “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act.”  AUL’s groundbreaking model legislation seeks to ensure that a pregnant woman and her unborn child are protected from criminal violence and that her decision to carry her child to term is respected.  Specifically, the model legislation was drafted in direct response to the well-documented and growing problem of pregnancy-related violence against women.

“Leave it to the anti-life lobby to claim that model legislation that shows respect for the choice a woman makes to keep her baby is flawed,” said Burke. “Research shows that pregnant women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse. It is tragic that the pro-abortion lobby maligns efforts to protect these women. AUL’s expertly drafted model legislation does not legalize violence against abortion providers, and in keeping with its pro-life convictions,  AUL has always condemned such violence.”

As detailed in the legislative findings section of the “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act,” evidence has shown that violence and abuse are often higher during pregnancy than during any other period in a woman’s lifetime.  For example, according to the March of Dimes, one in six pregnant women have been abused by a partner.  A 1998 household survey determined that pregnant women are 60.6 percent more likely to be beaten than women who are not pregnant.

In fact, a pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause.   And case after case has demonstrated that husbands or boyfriends are often the perpetrators of pregnancy-associated violence and that this violence is often directed at the unborn child or intended to end or jeopardize the pregnancy.

AUL’s “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act” expressly provides that a pregnant woman may use force to protect her unborn child when she reasonably believes that unlawful force is threatening her unborn child and that her use of force is immediately necessary to protect her unborn child. The language explicitly limits the permitted use of force to a pregnant woman and does not expand it to third parties.  Thus, under the express terms of AUL’s carefully crafted and narrow language, the “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act” could not be used to justify criminal violence against abortion providers or anyone else.

Burke said, “Pro-abortion groups and their allies in the media, including Mother Jones and the Huffington Post, appeared to have intentionally distorted their reporting on the express language and purpose of AUL’s “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act” in an attempt to further their own political agendas.  Their actions are not only dishonest, but they do a grave disservice to the hundreds of thousands of pregnant woman who are assaulted or killed every year in this country.”

For more information and to download a copy of AUL’s model legislation, click here.

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