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AUL’s Work to Protect Pregnant Women in the Workplace Wins Support of Supreme Court

By Americans United for Life
Wednesday, March 25th, 2015


From left: Peggy Young’s attorney Sharon Gustafson, Peggy Young, AUL General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne outside the Supreme Court following the December 3, 2014 hearing.

“The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Young v. United Parcel Service is a victory for pregnant women who put the needs of their unborn children first in the workplace, and for all women who have asked for the same accommodations at work that other employees receive,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-25-15) – “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Young v. United Parcel Service is a victory for pregnant women who put the needs of their unborn children first in the workplace, and for all women who have asked for the same accommodations at work that other employees receive. Fair is fair,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. The case involves the federal “Pregnancy Discrimination Act,” which was designed to protect pregnant mothers at work. “Women should not suffer discrimination in the workplace and risk losing their jobs because they are having a baby. And pregnant mothers should not be treated differently and denied accommodations offered to other employees,” Dr. Yoest noted.

Peggy Young, a pregnant mother, was a driver for UPS. Though other workers received a “lighter duty” accommodation for conditions like sprained ankles, Ms. Young was denied an accommodation during her pregnancy, in violation of the federal PDA. Ms. Young lost in the two lower courts, and today the United States Supreme Court reversed their decisions in favor of Ms. Young. Ironically, during the course of the legal action, UPS changed its policy to grant “light-duty” to pregnant employees. The case drew widespread attention as pro-life advocates agreed with abortion supporters that pregnant women deserved protection in the workplace.

AUL Senior Counsel Clarke D. Forsythe was instrumental in organizing an amicus brief filed on behalf of 23 pro-life organizations in the case and served as co-counsel in the case along with AUL General Counsel Ovide M. Lamontagne. Other co-counsel on the brief are Carrie Severino (counsel of record) and Jonathan Keim of the Judicial Education Project, and Professor Thomas Berg and Professor Teresa Collett of the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

To read more on the AUL brief, click here.

“One of the unfortunate cultural consequences of the Supreme Court’s 1973 sweeping decision in Roe v. Wade was that it resulted in considerable economic and social pressure on some pregnant women to abort.  Roe’s supporters taught that abortion is a quick, easy, less-expensive choice and pushed women to ignore their desire for children. Workplaces hostile to the needs of pregnant women added to that pressure,” said Dr. Yoest. “AUL stands with women, working to ensure that their fundamental right to choose life is not only protected in law but is accommodated in the workplace.”

At the national level, a bi-partisan coalition in Congress introduced the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1977. The PDA had two primary goals: to reduce pressure on women in the workforce to have an abortion, and to protect the health of pregnant mothers and their unborn children during employment. Almost all states after Roe enacted their own version of pregnancy discrimination acts.  And, today, at least 15 states have some form of legislation prohibiting coerced abortions.

To learn more about the case, click here to read Forsythe’s op-ed on the case in USA Today.

Americans United for Life says Obamacare’s 5th Anniversary Good Time to Note Impact of Landmark, Anti-Life Law

By Americans United for Life
Monday, March 23rd, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-23-15) – On the fifth anniversary of President Obama signing Obamacare into law, Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest noted that “anti-life policies interwoven into every part of the law makes repealing and replacing the landmark, anti-life law a pro-life necessity.”

“In Obamacare we see that the abortion lobby has fully moved from choice to coercion, willing to punish, fine, tax, and put out of business every American who does not embrace the agenda of Big Abortion,” Dr. Yoest noted. “Although repeated promises were made about protections to be built into the law that would respect people’s pro-life convictions, in fact, such protections never materialized.”

On this fifth anniversary of Obamacare, AUL’s legal team released Myths and Facts on Taxpayer Funding for Abortion, the latest in AUL’s analysis on life-affirming and life-destroying care, found at www.realhealthcarerespectslife.com

During the healthcare debate, AUL and its sister organization AUL Action advocated for life-affirming healthcare and for protections of First Amendment Conscience Rights. To date, AUL has filed 27 amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs related to problems in Obamacare. AUL has also assisted 12 states with language and advice in opting out of abortion coverage in state insurance exchanges.

Abortion is woven into the healthcare law at multiple levels, making repeal of the law a pro-life necessity, including:

  • Failing to prohibit the use of federal tax dollars for abortion, abortion coverage, and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.
  • Pretending that the Hyde Amendment protections were enough to prohibit direct payment for abortions.
  • Permitting federally subsidized Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) to provide abortion coverage through the state insurance exchanges required in all 50 states.
  • Failing to prohibit all multi-state qualified health plans from providing coverage for abortion.
  • Including a “preventive care” mandate that is being used to force coverage of drugs and devices known to end life.
  • Failing to provide comprehensive First Amendment conscience protections for individuals, employers, and insurance companies that have religious or moral objections to abortion.

For interviews on anti-life policies in Obamacare, e-mail: press@aul.org

AUL Celebrates New Arkansas Law Designed to Protect Women from Misuse of Life-Ending Drugs

By Americans United for Life
Monday, March 23rd, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-23-15) – As an Americans United for Life model-based bill became law, AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest called the efforts of the Arkansas House and Senate, along with Governor Asa Hutchison, on behalf of Arkansas HB 1394, the Abortion Inducing Drugs Safety Act, “the kind of proactive, pro-life effort that saves lives. We know that women have died when given life-ending drugs recklessly, and in ways not recommended by the FDA. But the abortion industry consistently puts profits over people. Arkansas’ political leadership showed that women’s lives matter more than abortion industry convenience.”

The new bi-partisan law, signed by Gov. Hutchison, was based on AUL model legislation, and sponsored by Arkansas State Rep. Charlene Fite. “Americans United for Life thanks Rep. Fite as well as State Senator Jake File, Gov. Hutchinson and the Family Council in Arkansas for their partnership and leadership on this important piece of legislation,” said Dr. Yoest.

The law will require that life-ending drugs be distributed as outlined by the FDA, which means that a woman must be examined to determine how far she is in pregnancy or whether she is experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, and that she be monitored in case of life-threatening complications. The FDA has reported that, since the Mifeprex regimen more commonly known as RU-486 was approved in September 2000, more than 2,200 cases of severe adverse events including hemorrhaging, blood loss requiring transfusions, serious infections, and at least 14 women’s deaths have occurred. At least 8 of these women died from severe bacterial infections, and in every case the woman was instructed by an abortion provider to misuse this dangerous regimen.

For more on the health risks of abortion for women, click here.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest Testifies in Favor of Colorado “Born-Alive Infant Protection Act”

By Americans United for Life
Friday, March 13th, 2015

On March 3, 2015, Dr. Charmaine Yoest testified in Denver, Colorado, before the Colorado House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee on House Bill 1112, the “Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.”

Listen to Dr. Yoest’s Testimony

Audio of Dr. Yoest’s testimony – and her answers to questions from committee-members is below.

Photos from the Hearing

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C./DENVER, CO (03-03-15) – “Babies born under difficult and even dangerous circumstances deserve the respect and care due all people. That’s why Americans United for Life Action calls on Colorado legislators to support humane treatment of newly born infants who do not deserve abandonment and death,” according to Americans United for Life Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest, who will testify Tuesday afternoon in favor of HB 1112, the “Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.”

The bill requires medical professionals to provide nourishment and “medically appropriate and reasonable medical care and treatment or surgical care” to every infant born alive in the state of Colorado regardless of his or her stage of gestational development. The bill also criminalizes “infanticide”: any act or failure to act with the intent to kill an infant. The bill’s requirements apply regardless of the circumstances under which an infant is born, and the act explicitly provides that these protections extend to children born alive during abortions.

Click here to continue reading.

Read Dr. Yoest’s Testimony

Thank you, Chairwoman Primavera and members of the Committee, for inviting me to testify before you today. I am here on behalf of Americans United for Life (AUL), the legal architects of the pro-life movement. Our vision at AUL is a nation where everyone is welcome in life and protected in law. I am pleased to testify in support of a bill that will advance this vision in Colorado—House Bill (HB) 1112, the “Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.”

Based on AUL model legislation, HB 1112 will protect some of Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens—babies born under difficult and even dangerous circumstances. This bill requires medical professionals to provide nourishment and “medically appropriate and reasonable medical care and treatment or surgical care” to every infant born alive in the state of Colorado regardless of his or her stage of gestational development. Further, the bill criminalizes “infanticide”: any act or failure to act with the intent to kill an infant…

Click here to continue reading.

AUL Action calls for “Humane Treatment” of Newborns who Survive Abortions

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

AUL Action President and CEO to testify in favor of HB 1112, the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” before the Colorado House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C./DENVER, CO (03-03-15) – “Babies born under difficult and even dangerous circumstances deserve the respect and care due all people. That’s why Americans United for Life Action calls on Colorado legislators to support humane treatment of newly born infants who do not deserve abandonment and death,” according to Americans United for Life Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest, who will testify Tuesday afternoon in favor of HB 1112, the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act.”

The bill requires medical professionals to provide nourishment and “medically appropriate and reasonable medical care and treatment or surgical care” to every infant born alive in the state of Colorado regardless of his or her stage of gestational development. The bill also criminalizes “infanticide”: any act or failure to act with the intent to kill an infant. The bill’s requirements apply regardless of the circumstances under which an infant is born, and the act explicitly provides that these protections extend to children born alive during abortions.

MEDIA ADVISORY:
Dr. Yoest to testify Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in room 107 on HB 1112,
The “Born Alive Infant Protection Act,”
Before the Colorado House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee.

In 2002, the federal Born-Alive Infant Protection Act became law, clarifying that infants born alive at any stage of development are protected under federal law. Further, 26 states have laws similar to HB 1112, establishing a specific affirmative duty for physicians to provide medical care and treatment to born-alive infants at any stage of development. (Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.) Four additional states have more limited protections. (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Virginia.)

Dr. Yoest is available in Denver for interviews on Tuesday. Contact media@aul.org to request.

To read Dr. Yoest’s entire testimony, click here.

To listen to a live-stream of Dr. Yoest’s testimony, click here.

AUL Action Calls on Senate to Pass No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act to Prevent Abortion Subsidies in Healthcare Funds

By Americans United for Life
Thursday, February 26th, 2015

“This effort will more permanently protect taxpayers from subsidizing abortionists through use of healthcare funds,” said AUL Action’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (02-26-15) – “Most Americans are unaware that multiple, taxpayer-supported income streams end up in abortion providers’ pockets,” observed Americans United for Life Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “AUL Action calls on the U.S. Senate to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, as a critical first step toward ensuring that real healthcare respects life. This bi-partisan effort will more permanently protect taxpayers from subsidizing abortionists through use of healthcare funds.”

“AUL Action thanks both Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) for leading the effort to win passage of the act, which establishes a permanent, government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding for both abortion and insurance plans which include abortion coverage,” said Dr. Yoest.

In 1980, AUL won a historic victory for the Hyde Amendment in the Harris v. McRae case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Thirty-five years later it is clear that the Hyde Amendment does more than keep tax dollars out of abortionists’ hands – Hyde saves lives. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute acknowledges that the best studies show that “18-37% of pregnancies that would have ended in Medicaid-funded abortions were instead carried to term.”

Currently, pro-life advocates must work each year to renew the Hyde Amendment and other abortion funding restrictions, which prevent some federal funds from paying for abortions. However, abortion advocates in government are fighting to eliminate these protections.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act would also close abortion-funding loopholes created by Obamacare, a landmark anti-life law that permits funding for abortion and life-ending drugs and devices. And despite pro-life efforts, Obamacare was written so that the Hyde Amendment did not apply.

Problems with the law include:

  • Failing to prohibit the use of federal tax dollars for abortion, abortion coverage, and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.
  • Pretending that the Hyde Amendment applied to the law and prohibited direct payment for abortions.
  • Permitting federally subsidized Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) to provide abortion coverage through the state insurance exchanges required in all 50 states.
  • Failing to prohibit all multi-state qualified health plans from providing coverage for abortion.
  • Including a “preventive care” mandate that is being used to force coverage of drugs and devices known to end life.
  • Failing to provide comprehensive First Amendment conscience protections for individuals, employers, and insurance companies that have religious or moral objections to abortion.

In addition to the life-saving protections of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, AUL Action supports state and federal legislation, such as the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, that ensure health care and family planning tax dollars are not exploited by the abortion industry.

“The abortion industry has infiltrated a number of federal and state programs in order to take limited taxpayer dollars for their deadly business,” noted Dr. Yoest. “This bill cuts funds for abortion payments and is a critical first step. AUL Action is leading state and federal efforts on additional protections that are necessary as Planned Parenthood, Abortion Inc., has collected billions in taxpayer funds through their aggressive lobbying efforts.”

To learn more about the tax monies going to the abortion industry, visit www.NoAbortionTax.com.

To learn more about the health risks of abortion for women, click here.

Today is Lincoln’s Birthday

By Clarke Forsythe
Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Abraham Lincoln

As we commemorate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday today (February 12, 1809), reflecting on his life inspires us in our work to secure comprehensive protection of human life from conception to natural death. While Lincoln’s accomplishments as president—including his drive to secure “a new birth of freedom”—are most familiar to Americans, his political actions and speeches in the 1850s that set the stage for his campaign for the presidency are worthy of reflection.

In his Peoria speech of October 1854 against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its expansion of slavery, Lincoln opposed the extension of slavery on the basis of principle: “If the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that ‘all men are created equal;’ and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man’s making a slave of another.”

In the 1850s, Lincoln skillfully pursued the building of a political party, in Illinois and across the country, which would be able to elect an anti-slavery candidate as President. He articulated fundamental principles of freedom and justice in political debate with unusual eloquence, conviction, and insight. His writings and speeches include reflections on freedom, justice and prudence in politics that can guide thoughtful Americans today.

To highlight just one example as president, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 has been dismissed by some as a “cynical and meaningless document” while others have derided it as having “all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading.” But Lincoln artfully wrote it, conscious of his constitutional limits as commander in chief, to have a significant impact in undermining the rebellion, shortening the war, and giving permanent freedom to as many slaves as possible. With the expectation of a legal challenge in the courts, he wrote it—as Lincoln scholar Paul Finkelman put it– “as narrowly focused and as constitutionally solid as possible.”

Whether any proclamation could be effective in any way was conditioned by constitutional, political and military factors. Without securing these necessary supports, an ill-timed proclamation could have fallen apart, split the Union further, divided the Army, and resulted in rebel victory, which would have effectively reinforced slavery for the foreseeable future.

Lincoln’s record is one of thoughtfully struggling against enormous odds to achieve the greatest measure of justice possible in the face of the political obstacles of his time.

The cause for life is committed to protecting human life in America and thereby restoring America as an example to other nations. Working within the limits of our constitutional system and democratic republic, our challenge is to skillfully confront the enormous obstacles and entrenched interests that are committed to destroying life and persevere in building institutions, legal frameworks, and cultural movements that will protect human life at all stages of development.

May we be guided and inspired by Lincoln’s principles, prudence, and perseverance.

AUL Submits Comments Highlighting Importance of Health & Safety Standards

By Americans United for Life
Friday, January 30th, 2015

DHHS_medicaidAmericans United for Life submitted written comments today to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on recently proposed rules for abortion facilities. AUL’s comments highlight the importance of such standards in protecting women’s health and safety and critique the rules as being deficient in several major respects.

Among the arguments AUL advances are that health and safety standards for abortion facilities are necessary for the protection of public health and safety for several reasons, including (a) abortion is an invasive surgical procedure that can lead to numerous and serious medical complications; and (b) even conservative estimates of abortion complication rates support the need for such standards.

For example, relying on the abortion industry’s own conservative estimates of complication rates along with the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute’s latest report on induced abortions, in 2011 alone, more than 26,000 women experienced abortion-related complications, and more than 3,000 of these women required hospitalization. These numbers are not insignificant. Instead, they attest to a significant public health concern.

Deficiencies in the proposed North Carolina rules include that (a) in formulating proposed rules, DHHS failed to consult the Joint Commission (JCAHO) Standards for Ambulatory Care, the acknowledged “gold standards” for facilities performing outpatient surgical procedures; (b) DHHS is effectively and inappropriately delegating its regulatory and oversight authority to individual abortion facilities and has failed to adequately protect North Carolina women by mandating comprehensive, medically appropriate standards for such facilities; (c) the proposed rules do not provide for proper enforcement, inexplicably failing to prescribe criminal and/or civil penalties for violations; and (d) the proposed rules do not adequately define important terms, rendering the rules suspect and subject to varying interpretations.

Click here to read AUL’s comment.

AUL Action Calls on Congress to De-Fund Abortionists, Separating Taxpayer Dollars from the Billion Dollar Industry

By Americans United for Life
Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

“The highly profitable abortion industry – raking in BILLIONS – should be cut off from taxpayer funding,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (01-22-15) – Americans United for Life Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest called on members of Congress to pass the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, “a vote supported by 7 in 10 Americans – whether self described as pro-life or pro-choice– who have said that they don’t want their hard-earned money to pay for abortions. And yet, during the Obama Administration’s tenure the abortion business run by Planned Parenthood has reported over 510 MILLION DOLLARS IN PROFIT. At the same time, Planned Parenthood has taken in 3 BILLION tax dollars. In fact, more than 40 percent of its overall support comes from taxpayers.”

She continued, “Under Cecile Richard’s tenure at Planned Parenthood, the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood has gone up; taxpayer support of abortion has gone up, while other services, like breast screenings have gone down. Richards has deceptively advertised Planned Parenthood as a full-service location, while she has ordered all Planned Parenthood clinics to perform abortions. In fact, 94 percent of its pregnancy related ‘services’ are abortion. Why is this corporate giant receiving any money from struggling taxpayers?”

On the eve of the President’s State of the Union Address Dr. Yoest released a short video, calling on the President to give account for billions of tax dollars spent on Planned Parenthood alone, a business that performs about 1 in 3 abortions, according to their reports. To watch Dr. Yoest’s video, click here. To read recent AUL analysis of the Billion-Dollar business, conducted by Planned Parenthood, click here:

In a letter to Capitol Hill, Dr. Yoest informed members of Congress that the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act will be a scored vote for life. The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Action would make permanent the protections found in the Hyde Amendment, which offers taxpayers some protections from funding abortions, when it is applied.

In 1980, AULA’s sister organization Americans United for Life won a historic victory for Americans when we successfully defended the Hyde Amendment in Harris v. McRae before the U.S. Supreme Court. AUL attorney and former Vice Chair of AUL’s board Victor Rosenblum successfully argued the case before the Supreme Court. This important court decision upheld federal and state prohibitions on public funding of abortion except in the case of the life of the mother.

AUL has been pivotal in holding Planned Parenthood accountable for their use of the glut of federal funds they lobby for and receive each year. You can read more in The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood and the Planned Parenthood Exhibits.

To learn more about the health risks of abortion to women, click here:

AUL Calls on President to cut Tax Dollars from Planned Parenthood’s Billion Dollar Abortion Business

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

“Planned Parenthood is Abortion, Inc.,” says AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest, “with more than 40 percent of its funding coming from taxpayers. At Planned Parenthood today, abortion is up, taxpayer funding is up, and cancer screenings are down.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (01-20-15) – On the eve of President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Americans United for Life released a report, noting that the abortion business run by Planned Parenthood has reported over 510 MILLION DOLLARS IN PROFIT since Barack Obama became President. At the same time, Planned Parenthood has taken in 3 BILLION tax dollars in fact, more than 40 percent of its overall support comes from taxpayers. “In his State of the Union Address today, will the President report that during his time in office the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood has gone up and taxpayer support of abortion has gone up, while other services, like breast screenings have gone down?” said AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Over the objections of the majority of Americans, tax dollars are supporting a highly profitable, highly secretive abortion industry.”

Dr. Yoest discussed AUL’s findings in a video as well as in a report prepared by AUL’s legal team. This follows up on AUL’s detailed analysis of Planned Parenthood’s track record, in The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood and the Planned Parenthood Exhibits, further detailing exactly what kind of “services” are sold by the Abortion Industry leader, which commits nearly 1 in 3 abortions nationwide.

Dr. Yoest observed: “The data in Planned Parenthood’s recently released Annual Report shows that chemical and surgical abortions, along with profits, increased at Planned Parenthood. In fact, 94 percent of its pregnancy related ‘services’ are abortion. Meanwhile, under Cecile Richard’s leadership, the kinds of services touted in its advertising are all down, including cancer screening and prevention, breast exams/breast care, adoption referrals and prenatal services.”

“This report is one more reason for Congress to take up the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, to separate the hard-earned dollars of Americans from a grisly business,” said Dr. Yoest. “And this illustrates why repealing Obamacare, which is riddled with funding streams for the abortion industry, is a necessity.”

During the healthcare debates, a Quinnipiac University National Poll found that more than seven out of ten Americans agree that their taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for abortions — including people who identify themselves as pro-choice and pro-life.

Abortion is woven into the healthcare law at multiple levels, making repeal of the law a pro-life necessity, including:

  • Failing to prohibit the use of federal tax dollars for abortion, abortion coverage, and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.
  • Pretending that the Hyde Amendment protections were enough to prohibit direct payment for abortions.
  • Permitting federally subsidized Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) to provide abortion coverage through the state insurance exchanges required in all 50 states.
  • Failing to prohibit all multi-state qualified health plans from providing coverage for abortion.
  • Including a “preventive care” mandate that is being used to force coverage of drugs and devices known to end life.
  • Failing to provide comprehensive First Amendment conscience protections for individuals, employers, and insurance companies that have religious or moral objections to abortion.

To learn more about the health risks for abortion for women, click here

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